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Titanic sinking to new heights

Jan 1, 2003

What do a sunken luxury liner and Chinese food have in common? Well, just when you think you can't eat one more bite, a little time passes, and you're ready for another heaping helping of Titanic hype.

A new Chinese mega shopping complex is to be built by Hong Kong's Concord World Group. The huge complex will be called Xiehe World Square, with the most prominent feature being -- gasp! -- a full-size concrete and steel reproduction of the ill-fated White Star Liner, Titanic.

Why are the developers buying into the Titanic theme? Well, when James Cameron's Titanic movie hit China's theater screens in April 1998, it became the most popular film ever shown in that populous, communist country. Concord World Group hopes to capitalize on that massive public popularity and reap a distinctly western-style profit while giving the Chinese consumer exactly what he/she (apparently) wants in a theme-style shopping mall.

It's not yet known how far the Titanic theme will be stretched. For instance, will shoppers have to don hip waders to transit the attraction, or will the builders and theme spinners choose to concentrate on the drier B.I. (before iceberg) portion of the infamous liner's only cruise? Of course, if you must shop and absolutely cannot abide any more Titanic hoopla, the nearly 2.3 square-mile shopping mall will also feature additional "world-zone" themed shopping areas, including one with a scaled-down version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and another pushing a distinctively French theme, complete with a replica of the Eiffel Tower (but not full-size, unfortunately).

It is expected that the Xiehe World Square mall and the pseudo Titanic will be launched in 2005 ... with no chance of this land-based Titanic sinking, except possibly in the financial sense.