A local Chinese restaurant chain got an endorsement from China’s commander-in-chief, President Xi Jinping, inadvertently causing share prices for a similarly named restaurant group to jump. As Xi continues with his nationwide plans of austerity, which included cut backs on indulging on any expensive meals, one low-key Chinese eatery got a rare stamp of approval.
Over the weekend, president Xi stopped by at one of the Qingfeng Steamed Bun locations in the capital city of Beijing for what would normally be considered a casual meal. However, Xi’s visit to the Chinese-style fast-food chain became highly publicized after photos of the president picking up his order at the counter went viral on Chinese social media. In the few days following his meal, business has been booming for the Qingfeng restaurant chain. The particular franchise brand saw long lines for its food and even resorted to removing the table the president sat at in order to stop customers from fighting over the spot.
According to a report by the South China Morning Post, an overwhelming number of customers have flooded the small restaurant space on the Monday after Xi's visit, with some waiting in line for as long as an hour and a half in hopes of snapping pictures and ordering the unofficial "Xi combo" -- the president’s order, which includes steamed buns stuffed with pork and onions, a vegetable side dish and a pork liver and intestines stew. The hearty meal was priced at 21 yuan, or just under $3.50.
The restaurant's manager said that the sudden interest in the branch is definitely correlated to the president’s recent visit, adding that most people ask for whatever Xi ordered. “My relatives in Australia called us yesterday saying they saw in the news that China’s president dined at this restaurant, so we came today to have a taste of the buns,” one Beijing tourist, Olivia Chao, said in the report.
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The presidential visit generated so much attention that Chinese financial markets even responded to the international and local attention that the franchise was receiving According to a report by Caixin, a Chinese financial magazine, the shares of a Chinese- listed roast duck restaurant group saw an increase in its share price when it opened on Monday, Dec. 30, just two days following Xi’s meal. The shares of China Quanjude Group saw a spike when it opened at 20.74 yuan per share, up by its daily growth limit of 10 percent compared to it’s closing price last Friday. Investors had mistakenly thought the similarly named Quanjude Group represented an indirect ownership of the Qingfeng restaurant chain, which now famously sells presidential steamed buns.
Caixin also reported that public documents indicate that Quanjude doesn't hold any shares in Qingfeng. By the time markets closed on Monday, Quanjude’s share price was down to 19.76 yuan.