China has always been notorious for producing some of the best knock-offs of designer gear, whether it be Gucci shoes, or Louis Vuitton handbags, the Chinese always had the best imitations on the market.
Well now they seem to have exceeded even their own high standards of the art of replication by cloning the entire Austrian village of Hallstat.
The picturesque village of Hallstat is centuries old and is a UNESCO heritage site that relies primarily on season tourism to survive. It was cloned by real estate company Minmetals Land Inc, which is the real estate department of China Minmetals Corp, who are China’s biggest metals trader.
According to reports from News 24, the Chinese Hallstat was cloned using information garnered by Minmetals staff that went around the original Hallstat taking photographs and gathering data.
Unsurprisingly residents of the original Hallstat were slightly suspicious of what was going on as these guys probably seemed slightly different to your average Chinese tourist standing around taking happy-snaps. They first heard about the cloning plan just over a year ago from a Chinese guest who was staying at Wenger’s hotel and accidently let the cat out of the bag.
Understandably, reaction to the cloned village from residents of the original Hallstat has been mixed; the Mayor of the town Alexander Schuetz signed a cultural exchange agreement with the new Hallstat and expressed a certain level of pride at the fact that the Chinese real estate company had chosen Hallstat to be imitated. Well they do say, ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’!
However some residents said that they would have been liked to have been consulted before the project went ahead as a matter of courtesy, whilst others were just completely displeased that a fake version of their beloved home town had been created at all, albeit thousands of miles away!!
The Chinese Hallstat is in the Guangdong Province’s Huizhou city.