Second copy, but more expensive: China gears up to launch huge Titanic replica

After more than a century since its ill-fated maiden voyage, the Titanic is being brought back from the deep but this time at a landlocked Chinese theme park where tourists can soon splash out for a night on a full-scale replica.

Let's have a look:

Unsinkable!

The original luxury vessel, the largest of its time and branded "unsinkable" by its owners, has become a byword for hubris ever since it plunged into the depths of the Atlantic in 1912 after striking an iceberg, leaving more than 1,500 people dead.

(Photograph:AFP)

Lifelong glory

The project's main backer was inspired to recreate the world's most infamous cruise liner by the 1997 box office hit of the same name, once the world's top-grossing film and wildly popular in China.

Investor Su Shaojun says he was motivated to finance the audacious, 260-metre-long (850-foot-long) duplicate to keep memories of the Titanic alive. 

"I hope this ship will be here in 100 or 200 years," Su said.

(Photograph:AFP)

Original's replica, but costlier

"We are building a museum for the Titanic." 

It has taken six years, longer than the construction of the original Titanic, plus 23,000 tons of steel, more than a hundred workers and a hefty one billion yuan ($153.5 million) price tag.

Everything from the dining room to the luxury cabins and even the door handles are styled on the original Titanic. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Where Jack won his ticket

It forms the centrepiece of a Sichuan province theme park more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the sea. 

The site features a replica of Southampton Port seen in James Cameron's 1997 disaster epic, where Leonardo DiCaprio's fictional character Jack swings on board after winning his ticket in a bet.

(Photograph:AFP)

Spend the night

It costs up to around $150(2,000 yuan) to spend one night on the ship for the "five-star cruise service", Su says, adding that with a functioning steam engine guests will feel that they are really at sea.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

White Elephant!?

Even before opening, the replica has drawn plenty of controversies. Online users have questioned whether the famous ship would attract tourists given the disaster that struck its real-life inspiration. 

Others feared it would join other ambitious Chinese building projects that turned into white elephants, including a 2008 replica of the USS Enterprise, an American aircraft carrier, which cost over $18 million and was abandoned shortly after it opened.

However, Su hopes as many as five million annual visitors will come to see his Titanic.

(Photograph:AFP)

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