August 10, 2018 / 7:19 AM / 6 days ago

Chinese President Xi's favorite steamed buns maker moving closer to IPO: state media

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing steamed buns maker known for being a favorite of Chinese President Xi Jinping is moving closer to an initial public offering after a 92 million yuan ($13.5 million) fundraising round, Chinese state media reported.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors take pictures for remembrance at the Qing-Feng steamed buns restaurant where Chinese President Xi Jinping visited and dined at on Saturday, in Beijing, December 29, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

The Beijing Youth Daily newspaper reported on Thursday that new investors in Qing-Feng Steamed Dumplings Shop included a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd (0656.HK). The money raised will be used for expanding its business and upgrading existing stores, the report said.

After becoming president in 2013, Xi was spotted at one of Qing-Feng’s stores in the capital, lining up and carrying his own tray. He chatted and posed for photos with other patrons, winning praise from the public and putting the buns maker in the spotlight.

Such unscripted public appearances are rare for China’s top leadership, who mostly stick to carefully choreographed appearances managed by the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda arm.

Xi’s visit drove business to the restaurant, with customers ordering what had been dubbed at the time the “Uncle Xi combo” - pork and onion buns, fried liver and stir-fried greens - and taking pictures at the table where Xi ate.

The Beijing Youth Daily did not say when Qing-Feng may list or what valuations it might seek.

Qing-Feng, which reportedly announced its plan to go public in 2015, referred all queries to its top shareholder, Beijing government-owned Beijing Huatian Restauant Group, and declined to comment on its listing plans or new investors.

Beijing Huatian did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Fosun could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Se Young Lee; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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