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Foundation banking on the spirit of Titanic

By Deng Yanzi In Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2015-04-09 08:22

The legendary ocean liner Titanic sunk more than a century ago in the North Atlantic - but the story and the spirit of its demise still capture the imagination of people all over the world, regardless of nationality, race or language.

And that spirit has prompted the launch of The Titanic Foundation - a charity fund created by a Chinese energy company that aims to offer help to shipwreck survivors and relatives of shipwreck victims all over the world.

The fund will also provide financial support to infrastructure projects built to prevent shipwrecks and sponsor free training programs on how to avoid shipwrecks.

Launched at the recent Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, the Titanic Foundation is the brainchild of Su Shaojun, CEO and founder of Seven Star Energy Investment Group.

He told China Daily: "Titanic is known to the world not just as a maritime disaster but more importantly as a representation of commitment and responsibility, the principle of 'women and children first', as well as selflessness - universally celebrated ideals that the foundation will carry forward."

Its first initiative is the "Unsinkable Titanic" project which features a full-scale replica of the famous Belfast-built liner, which is designed with around 580 cabins, some of which are available for sale.

The replica, which costs around 1 billion yuan ($160.9 million), is part of a planned theme park in Sichuan province. The liner will be docked on a river in the theme park and will be its main attraction. Other facilities will include thermal springs and an artificial beach and replicas of scenes from famous movies.

Su said that 5 percent of the replica liner's cabin sales, 3 percent of ticket sales and 1 percent of the theme park's revenue, will be allocated to the foundation.

Scheduled to open to the public in August 2017, "Unsinkable Titanic" will recapture the petrifying moment when the original ship collided with an iceberg in 1912, he said, using state-of-the-art technology to simulate an authentic experience for visitors.

Seven Star is also currently shooting a film about the Titanic in cooperation with Hollywood producers, and the company said that part of its revenues will also be allocated to the foundation.

Commenting at the launch, Long Yongtu, China's former vice-minister of foreign trade, said using such a recognizable story of human spirit as the sinking of the Titanic is a creative way to promote a caring corporate culture.

He hoped that the foundation would bolster China's soft power by emphasizing communication and understanding between China and the world, and promoting a strong image of social responsibility by Chinese enterprises.

Jenny Shipley, former prime minister of New Zealand, said she hoped the foundation would draw more attention to how to keep people safe in the maritime environment and that traders worldwide and participants in the maritime industry would be reminded about supporting people who had experienced tragedy.

 Foundation banking on the spirit of Titanic

Launching ceremony of the Titanic Foundation. Fromleft to right: Long Yongtu, former viceminister of foreign trade, Jenny Shipley, former primeminister of New Zealand, Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of commerce of the United States and Su Shaojun, founder of the foundation, Provided To China Daily


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