11 cities China ripped off from the rest of the world

Hallstatt China man with ladderReuters/Siu chiuWith a price tag of $US940 million, it’s no wonder the Chinese replica of Austrian Hallstatt looks so authentic.

Knock-off bags? Head to Chinatown. Knock-off towns? Head to China.

That China is really good at producing counterfeit goods is well documented, but the country has really outdone itself by copying entire towns or cities from other parts of the world.

Here are 11 cities that China copied from the rest of the world.

Located near the port city of Tianjin is Florentia Village, an elaborately designed outlet mall that's meant to resemble an Italian village. It comes complete with fountains, canals and mosaics, as well as 'local' shops like Gucci and Prada. Built by an Italian developer, it truly feels like Italy.

A few hours outside of Shanghai you'll come across Tianducheng, a wannabe Paris that features a 354-foot replica of the Eiffel tower. However, despite being surrounded by a residential area designed to accommodate 10,000 people, the copycat city is largely empty.

In the midst of the Chinese province of Guangdong sits an identical copy of Hallstatt, a historic Austrian Alpine village. China spent $940 million dollars copying the charming UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety.

Across the river from Hong Kong is 'Overseas Chinese Town East (OCT),' a sort of eco-tourism theme park which has a man-made lake and an entire district that's modelled after Switzerland's Interlaken. Interlaken Town has a five-star resort with a spa, golf course, and steam train, as well as an imitation of the Kappelbrücke, a covered wooden footbridge in Lucerne.

The ancient fishing village of Tianjin was razed to make room for a mini-Manhattan, which developers hoped would become the financial center of the world. It was set to house a Juilliard School and replicas of Rockefeller and Lincoln Center. Previously set to be completed in 2019, construction has halted, leaving it a ghost town.

Cobbled streets, Victorian homes and corner pubs make Thames Town, in the Songjiang District near Shanghai, feel supremely English. Some of the buildings are exact replicas of those found in England. It, like a few more towns on this list, is part of the 1 City -- 9 Towns residential project, which was meant to lure people out of overcrowded Shanghai to live out their European fantasies in one of nine Europe-inspired villages.

Rather than building some some castle-clad Germanic storybook village, the German architects hired to build Anting German Town, outside Shanghai, decided to be practical and build a modern German Town in China. The city, meant to house almost 50,000 people, is mostly empty -- allegedly one in five apartments are occupied.

Also known as Pudong's Nederland, Holland Town is a pastiche village made of Dutch stereotypes pulled from Amsterdam and the Kattenbroek neighbourhood of Amersfoort, complete with canals and windmills. Some buildings are exact copies of those found in the Netherlands, like the Netherlands Maritime Museum and the Bijenkorf department store in Amsterdam.

The Italian architects of Breeza Citta di Pujiang, also located outside of Shanghai, created a town that's meant to resemble a modern-day Italian city. However, the result was a kind of sterile area with mostly blocky apartment buildings, with a few scenic canals and green spaces.

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