USS Enterprise building

Source: China Real Time, WSJ (5/25/15)
Chinese Firm’s Headquarters Shaped Like ‘Star Trek’s’ Enterprise
By Yang Jie

The design of the office building by NetDragon was inspired by the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, which appeared in three “Star Trek” movies. Courtesy of NetDragon Websoft 0777.HK 0.00%. Inc.

With the help of Google Maps, fans of the science fiction franchise “Star Trek” have boldly gone to China to find a new discovery: the USS Enterprise as a work of architecture.

The design of the building has sparked heated discussion online among Trekkies about which ship from the long-running television and movie series it is based on.

Now the mysterious owner has come forward.

The 260-meter long, 100-meter wide, six-floor building was built by Hong Kong-listed Chinese online game developer NetDragon Websoft, whose founder Liu Dejian — a 43-year-old University of Kansas alumni — is a huge fan. Mr. Liu is also a board member of Chinese search engine giant Baidu.

With a total investment of 600 million yuan ($97 million), the building was inspired by the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, which appeared in three “Star Trek” movies in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It has landed in the coastal city of Changle in China’s southeast Fujian province, where the company’s headquarters is based. Construction started in late October of 2010 and finished in May of 2014.

China is no stranger to architectural fantasies. But based on the NetDragon’s account, Mr. Liu and his team took their task seriously.

According to the company, executives didn’t make a building based on the Enterprise their first choice because much of it would have to be elevated. But one day, inspired by a poster for the franchise, they decided to put the giant ship on several columns, as if it had landed on the field for repairs.

Once NetDragon made its decision, it said, the company contacted U.S. media company CBS CBSA 0.00%, which produces Star Trek, to secure the rights.  “That was their first time dealing with issue like this and at first they thought that it was a joke,” said the company in an email.

“They realized somebody in China actually did want to work out a building modeled on the USS Enterprise only after we sent the relevant legal documents,” said the company. It didn’t disclose financial details.

“We have always held a negative attitude toward piracy,” said the company. CBS didn’t respond to requests for comment over the weekend.

Inside the giant spaceship — which will serve as office space — is also a life-sized  Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton replica, modeled after a famous one discovered in South Dakota in 1987.

Chinese Internet users expressed their own admiration online, although Chinese audiences sometimes mix up “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” because the former has never been big there.

“Working inside of a spaceship would be so cool,” said one user on China’s Weibo social-media platform.

“Unlike the other Chinese nouveau riche, somebody actually pays attention to copyrights,” said another Weibo user.

 –Yang Jie

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