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