In addition to its rich cultural history, China is known for making slightly shittier versions of everything else in the world, with everything from handbags and dresses, to fast food chains, to electronics. They have whole malls dedicated to fake products, and have developed a huge reputation of being the leader in counterfeit products. Fake goods coming from China make up 2% of the world’s trade.
However, China isn’t stopping at just exportable goods. Whole copycat cities and landmarks are popping up all over China. Shanghai alone has ten cities all built in the architectural styles of different European countries. Traffic permitting, it’s possible to travel from “Germany” to “Italy” to “England” in the course of a few hours.
Author of Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China, Bianca Bosker, comments that this isn’t a new trend in China, “in premodern China, you had China’s imperial rulers using copycat buildings as a way of showing off their power and establishing their authority. In the 3rd century BC, one of the rulers showed off his conquest of the rival kingdom by recreating their buildings within his own capital city.”