Chinese social media users have worked themselves into a frenzy over the arrival of ‘Auntie’ Theresa May and her ‘very handsome husband’ Philip – but were puzzled by a picture of a businessman standing near to the Prime Minister holding baby formula.
Mrs May has been given the affectionate nickname usually reserved for Beijing’s key allies as she flies into the country on a three-day trade mission.
But her visit sparked curiosity on Chinese social media.
Eagle-eyed users of Weibo – similar to Twitter – spotted a member of the business delegation travelling with the Prime Minister was holding something in a picture taken after the party landed in Wuhan today.
Chinese social media users have gone crazy for ‘Auntie May’ – and acted with bewilderment after one of the business delegation was pictured holding baby formula
And MailOnline can reveal the businessman is Ross McMahon, CEO of Cumbria-based Kendal Nutricare, which specialises in formulas
And MailOnline can reveal the man is Ross McMahon, CEO of Cumbria-based Kendal Nutricare, which specialises in formulas, including infant and adult.
Last week they signed a blockbuster five-year contract worth £85million with a Shanghai company. They expect to create 25 extra jobs through the deal.
Social media users erupted over the formula.
Guancha.cn, a Chinese online news site, posted on Weibo: ‘UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May bring ‘the whole England’ over: HSBC, BP, Standard Chartered, Aston Martin, London Stock Exchange, etc. But what is the one at the far right holding in his hand?’
Web users commented: ‘Bring some milk formula for his cousins in China?’
Another said: ‘Is the formula from the UK?’
One wrote: ‘It’s better to have a present when you first visit.’
Mrs May is in China on a three-day trade mission and has received a warm welcome. Her affectionate nickname of ‘Auntie’ is usually reserved for Beijing’s key allies
A user typed: ‘It must be product endorsement.’
And another said: ‘Baby formula personal shopper.’
The pictures were shared by other users on the social media site and tagging local news media including China’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily.
Mr McMahon said: ‘I’m delighted that our Kendamil infant formula has received approval from China FDA, enabling us to continue exporting our products.
‘I look forward to working with colleagues in China, and to helping to create further employment opportunities here in Britain.’
And Mrs May’s husband, Philip, has also received a glowing reception.
As stated by the BBC, the Chinese have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ‘First Gentleman’ and the the Xinhua News Agency is reported to have said, ‘like most female leaders’ spouses, the ‘First Gentleman’ is known for his modesty.’
Mrs May, pictured today with her ‘very handsome’ husband Philip, has been in China on a trade mission
While popular news website The Paper described Mr May as ‘very low-key, stays away from the media and the public eye’.
Both of the outlets wrote extensive biographies on the Prime Minister’s husband, and said it was ‘unfortunate’ they were unable to have children.
But it added: ‘What is most important is that for 40 years he has been by her side, loved her, supported her and defended her.’
And Weibo users described him as ‘a very handsome gentleman’ and said their marriage is ‘really beautiful’.
Mrs May is on a trade mission to China and this morning it was announced British beef would be back on the menu for the Asian country for the first time in decades.
On a visit to Beijing, the Prime Minister used talks with Li Keqiang, the country’s second most important politician, to signal her determination to boost trade with the giant economy.