The movie 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, hit China in 2009, and, as a 3D version was screened last month, the mostly Buddhist population is now buying into the Mayan apocalypse myth.
According to Asia Times, a man from Chongqing spent his family's life savings of 110,000 yuan ($17,600 / €13,500) on fine dining before the apocalypse, as his daughter was about to be born. His wife left him when they were broke, and took the girl with her.
In Zhejiang province, two cousins threw caution to the wind and performed 12 robberies, convinced there were no consequences to their actions. They quickly spent all the money, right before being apprehended and jailed. They also blame their behavior on doomsday phobia.
1 million yuan ($160,000 / €122,400) of a Xinjiang resident's savings went into the construction of an “ark,” in the event that the apocalypse involves a great flood.
Arks are also the fashion in Henan province, where a local built his family a vessel big enough for them, their poultry and livestock, and their valuables.
Some are trying to capitalize on the Chinese doomsday phobia. A businessman from Zhejiang has reportedly already sold 21 arks, ranging between 1 million yuan ($160,000 / €122,400) to 5 million yuan ($801,000 / €612,000). He advertises that they will stand volcano eruptions, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and radiation from nuclear explosions.
Mongolia is not safe from apocalypse paranoia either, as a woman from Hohhot resorted to a desperate gesture, when she found out that the world would end. She threw her material belongings literally out the window, explaining she will have no need for them anymore.
The U.S. government has already responded to panic alerts by Americans suffering from the phobia. They posted on their blog that residents should not read in to rumors of the Mayan apocalypse, as the Mayan calendar does not end in December, and there is no hidden planet about to collide with Earth.