Chi­nese in­vestor buys British pub where Xi, Cameron shared a pint

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG MINGJIE in London wang­mingjie@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

The British coun­try pub where then-prime min­is­ter David Cameron treated Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to fish and chips and a pint of ale dur­ing his state visit last year has been sold to a Chi­nese in­vestor.

The Plough at Cads­den in ru­ral Buck­ing­hamshire shot to fame in China af­ter the pres­i­den­tial visit and has be­come a tourist at­trac­tion for bus­loads of Chi­nese tourists ar­riv­ing to sam­ple the same clas­sic British fare.

The value of the pur­chase by Si­noFor­tone In­vest­ment was not dis­closed. The com­pany said pre­vi­ous owner Steve Hollings would con­tinue to run the pub.

Peter Zhang, Si­noFor­tone In­vest­ment’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, wel­comed the deal. “The English pub con­cept is grow­ing very fast in China, and it’s the best way cul­tur­ally to link peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and build friend­ships,” he said.

Sales of Greene King IPA, the In­dia pale ale con­sumed by Xi and Cameron, are said to have soared in China over the past year.

The Plough deal was bro­kered through Christie & Co, a lead­ing spe­cial­ist ad­viser for buy­ing and sell­ing busi­nesses.

“The Chi­nese mar­ket has huge po­ten­tial and many op­por­tu­ni­ties. We will see more ac­tiv­ity in the com­ing months and years,” said Neil Mor­gan, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Christie’s pub­lic houses and restau­rants depart­ment.

Mor­gan said an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese in­vestors were ap­proach­ing the com­pany to ex­press an in­ter­est in British hos­pi­tal­ity and leisure op­por­tu­ni­ties, as well as in tak­ing clas­sic British themes to China.

Shaun Rein, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the China Mar­ket Re­search Group, said the lat­est deal showed that Chi­nese tourists were look­ing for au­then­tic British places to visit, in­clud­ing the pub that Xi had vis­ited. He said Chi­nese vis­i­tors were shift­ing away from shop­ping as their fo­cus and that mu­se­ums and palaces, along with pubs, were now be­com­ing ma­jor tourist des­ti­na­tions.

The Plough pur­chase is not Si­noFor­tone’s first in­vest­ment in the United Kingdom. In Oc­to­ber last year, it an­nounced it would in­vest 2 bil­lion pounds ($2.55 bil­lion) in two eco-parks in Wales.

“This pub pur­chase is con­sis­tent with that fo­cus,” said Jeffrey Tow­son, a pro­fes­sor who teaches in­vest­ment at Peking Univer­sity.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Sev­eral Chi­nese vis­i­tors chat out­side of the Plough at Cads­den in ru­ral Buck­ing­hamshire, a British pub that be­came fa­mous af­ter Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping was treated to fish and chips and a pint of ale dur­ing his state visit last year.

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