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  1. ITV Report

Chinese Eden Project to be created

The Eden Project has attracted world-wide attention Photo:

A Chinese version of the Eden Project is set to open after bosses signed a deal to create its first big building venture overseas.

The UK-based charity is teaming up with the leading developer China Jinmao Holdings Ltd to design and develop a £100 million iconic tourism education project in the major city of Qingdao, on the east coast of the country.

Both will sign a contract in Bejing on Sunday after Eden's Executive Vice Chairman and Co-founder Sir Tim Smit, and Executive Director David Harland, have worked over the past 14 months for the historic deal.

Announcing the China Eden agreement, Sir Tim said it will be by far the biggest development for the Eden Project since it fully opened in a former clay pit in Cornwall in 2001.

This is a hugely exciting moment for Eden and its partners in this great venture. The ambition for China Eden is to create a globally-renowned and iconic tourism attraction and centre which demonstrates the highest-quality sustainable construction practices - just as Eden has in the UK.

The location for China Eden is a stunning one with stupendous views of the whole city. This project fits perfectly with Eden's key transformation and regeneration themes and brings life to a currently sterile and derelict site. It has the potential to become instantly recognisable worldwide. Think Sydney Opera House in its scale, creativity and instant recognition.

– Sir Tim Smit

Qingdao is a coastal city of nearly nine million people in Shandong Province, halfway between Shanghai and Beijing. The city is backed by mountains and surrounded on three sides by the Yellow Sea. It is famous for hosting the 2008 Olympic sailing races, for having the largest bathing beach in Asia and for its most famous export, Tsingtao Beer. Qingdao already has annual tourism of 63 million visitors, many of whom are Korean and Japanese.