Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Smurfs Smurf Into China

A new wave of blue-collar workers is joining the push to develop Western China: the Smurfs.

The beloved, animated blue creatures — famous for their white caps, cheery theme song, and proclivity for using the name of their race as a verb — are moving to Chengdu, where development firm Chengdu Teda Sino-Europe Construction and Smurf-brand owner IMPS plan to open a Smurf theme park, according to a report from DTZ Asia Property Market Update.

With investment of 20 million yuan, or about $2.9 million, the theme park is set to open in three to five years, according to DTZ. It’s part of a bigger plan to build tourism in Chengdu, where pandas are one of the biggest attractions.

The Smurfs emerged in 1958 as the brain-child of Brussels-born cartoonist Pierre Culliford, more commonly known as “Peyo.” Their immediate popularity resulted in a regular cartoon strip for European audiences in 1959 and an animated movie in 1975. After 1981, when U.S.-production company Hanna-Barbera created the Emmy-winning cartoon, the Smurfs earned their status as global icons.


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