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China buyer hopes to cash in on English pub appeal

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 01:57

The Chinese firm which bought the English pub where David Cameron took Chinese President Xi Jinping has said it plans to open a chain of replica pubs in China. As Ivor Bennett reports, it comes as China switches the focus of its economy to the service sector.

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Nestled in the English countryside, the Plough in Buckinghamshire looks like any other country pub. But that's exactly what's made it anything but. Ever since David Cameron took Xi Jinping here in 2015 for a taste of British culture, it's become a hotspot for Chinese tourists. Desperate to follow in the footsteps of their President. SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL HACKETT, PUB MANAGER, SAYING: "Some days, they come through the day, we have to turn them away, we're full." Today, though, there were only two. And there was plenty of space to sit down. SOUNDBITE (English) YUERONG ZHANG, CHINESE STUDENT, SAYING: "Xi also came here so why not come here to experience what he, Xi, did." SOUNDBITE (English) SIYAO LIU, CHINESE STUDENT, SAYING: "We just want to feel more places he has been before" It was only a photocall but a potentially lucrative one. The pub's just been bought by a Chinese firm for 2 million pounds. They plan to open 40 more just like it back home. SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL HACKETT, PUB MANAGER, SAYING: "They love it because it is so different to the Chinese culture. To explain it, you and I go out, we're sat in the pub, we've had a few drinks and we go 'let's go for a Chinese'. There, they're say in the pub, they've had a few beers and they say 'come on, let's go for an English'." SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "And it doesn't get much more English than a pint and a plate of fish and chips. That's what the Chinese President ordered when he came here, and sat in this very spot. So it's what the Chinese customers order too." SOUNDBITE (English) SIYAO LIU, CHINESE STUDENT, SAYING : "From the colour, it feels like this is what he ordered. I asked the bar tender what is local beer and she says this one. So it's probably the same." SOUNDBITE (English) YUERONG ZHANG, CHINESE STUDENT, SAYING: "My friend told me you have a choice of British food. And the first thing that came up is fish and chips. It's very famous for Chinese people, especially after Xi came here" The firm's confident the exported version will be just as successful. Their only change - a menu that includes Singapore noodles.

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China buyer hopes to cash in on English pub appeal

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 01:57