And this, in turn, has become one of the engines driving China’s extraordinary development.
And while the 800 residents of the real Hallstatt breathe pristine mountain air, China’s ‘Alpine’ residents (if there are any) will gaze out only as far as the smog allows across the nation’s black industrial heartland.
The China Investment Corporation, a state-controlled sovereign wealth fund, immediately obliged by purchasing nearly nine per cent of the company behind Thames Water.
And in this most auspicious of Chinese new years – the Year of the Dragon – there is no doubt that individual consumers would like to follow suit.
Six months later, as the villas near completion and the developers still smart at the controversy, we decided to play the Chinese at their own game by posing as buyers, the first Westerners to set foot inside this new settlement.‘You won’t find anything like this anywhere else,’ the young salesman tells us brightly as we stood looking out across the man-made lake at the resort.
It looks a good deal muddier than the sparkling original.