A Chinese firm has bought the British pub where last year Chinese President Xi Jinping and then prime minister David Cameron hoisted a pint over fish and chips. The Plough in Cadsden, close to the prime minister's official country residence near London, was bought by SinoFortone Investment for an undisclosed sum, Christie and Co commercial property agent said in a statement.
"The pub became famous in Chinese circles following the visit of President Xi Jinping and it has become quite a tourist attraction for Chinese visitors since," said Neil Morgan, managing director of pubs and restaurants for the company.
Visitors were "keen to sample the classic British food and beer that the president tried", he said.
"Asian investors are becoming more interested in UK markets, particularly hotels, licensed and leisure and we are seeing more and more Chinese investors."
Peter Zhang, managing director of SinoFortone Investment, was quoted as saying: "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."
Cameron took Xi to the pub in October 2015, reportedly at the Chinese leader's request during his state visit to Britain.
The pub's landlord Steve Hollings told AFP then that Cameron and Xi had been "extremely friendly".
They drank "traditional English bitter" and had "traditional English fish and chips", he said proudly.
Then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying that Xi's "only problem" was the lack of salt and vinegar for his fish and chips.
British brewer Greene King said exports of its India pale ale (IPA) – the beer the two were drinking – to China had increased sixteen-fold after the visit.
"If the British prime minister chooses to drink IPA that's normal, but if the president of China chooses to drink a British beer it attracts lots of interest," Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said then. – AFP Relaxnews