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In pics: The Austrian alpine village... that China built

China has a reputation for reproducing pirate copies of goods – but an entire village?

ARE YOU WAITING with bated breath for the building of the Europe China Trading Hub? You may remember that planning permission for the 137-hectare site east of Athlone was granted for the project earlier this year.

It won’t, however, be an exact copy of the business quarter of Shanghai (if it ever comes to fruition, that is).

And it certainly won’t be as painstakingly a replica as the Chinese have produced in their own country with this exact reproduction of the Austrian alpine village of Hallstatt. The original is centuries old and has a population of 800. The Chinese Hallstatt is a high-end residential project in Guangdong province’s Huizhou city and was launched last weekend.

Associated Press has reported that there was some controversy last year when the Austrian residents of Hallstatt found out about the construction in China – they hadn’t been asked for permission to have their buildings reproduced. Now, however, Mayor Alexander Scheutz of the original Hallstatt has signed a cultural exchange agreement with the Chinese village, saying “we are very proud”.

Here’s the ‘new’ Hallstatt. It’s hard to believe you’re in China, no?

In pics: The Austrian alpine village... that China built
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  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Copy cat village, China

    Image: AP Photo/Vincent Yu/PA Images.
  • Meanwhile, back in Austria...

    The owner of the hotel Gruener Baum (Green Tree) Monika Wenger shows a drawing which Chinese architects made of her hotel in Hallstatt, Upper Austria (she is standing outside the original). Image: AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson
  • Meanwhile, back in Austria...

    The mayor of the Austrian Hallstadt, Alexander Scheutz, standing in the town square. Image: AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson.
  • Building from scratch...

    The site in China this time last year as the foundations were laid for the copy of Hallstatt. Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung/PA Images.

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- additional reporting, AP.

Read: An Bord Pleanála gives go-ahead for Chinese trading hub in Athlone>

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