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China's SinoFotone buys pub where David Cameron took Xi Jinping for a pint


Former PM David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough at Cadsden

Former PM David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough at Cadsden

Former PM David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Plough at Cadsden

A Great British staple of fish and chips and a pint at the local pub is to be rolled out across China following a swoop for a 16th-century inn where Chinese President Xi Jinping and David Cameron enjoyed a drink.

The Plough at Cadsden has been snapped up by SinoFortone Investment, a Chinese-backed enterprise with grand designs to transform it into an international pub chain.

Dr Peter Zhang, managing director of SinoFortone Investment, which has been linked with a bid for Liverpool Football club, said the English pub concept was growing "very fast" in China.

"We see bigger opportunities, namely countries lying between China and Europe in where we believe we could also export the UK brand internationally."

The Buckinghamshire pub shot to fame in the People's Republic when President Xi ate fish and chips and drank a pint of Greene King IPA during a state visit to the UK last year.

Such has been has been the affection that buses now ferry hundreds of Chinese tourists from London to the country pub so they can replicate the movements of "Big Daddy" Xi.

The pub has been a popular haunt for political heavyweights through the ages because of its close location to the prime minister's residence at Chequers.

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It was also thrust into the limelight four years ago when it was revealed that Mr Cameron accidentally left his daughter Nancy in the pub following a Sunday drink.

While the inn was not officially up for sale, SinoFortone Investment managed to strike a deal after approaching pub and restaurant agents, Christie and Co, to ask the owners if they would sell.

Neil Morgan, managing director - pubs and restaurants of Christie and Co, said: "The Chinese market has huge potential and many opportunities, so it is one that we will see more activity in over the coming months and years.

"Asian investors are becoming more interested in the UK markets, particularly hotels, licensed and leisure and we are seeing more and more Chinese investors in particular coming to us showing an interest both in British hospitality and leisure opportunities, and also in taking classic British themes to China."

Pub group Greene King has also seen sales of its beers rocket in China after Mr Cameron took the Chinese premier for a pint.