Li Jinyuan – owner of the multinational Tiens Group – booked 140 hotels in Paris for his lucky workers, who enjoyed trips to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge.

And there were few signs of austerity as seats on France’s high-speed TGV trains then transported them to the Cote d’Azur, where about 4760 rooms were laid on in four and five-star hotels in Monaco and Cannes.

The largest tour group ever to visit France are estimated to have spent around 33m euros on their all-expenses paid trip, which celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary. Tiens operates in various sectors including biotechnology, logistics, finance, property, tourism and retail, and was founded by Mr Li – now the 24th-richest person in China – in 1995.

The workforce ended their trip in Nice, where they stood in formation to spell out ‘Tiens’ dream is Nice in the Cote d’Azur’ – already confirmed by Guinness World Records as the “longest human-made phrase”.