US fast food won’t flee China

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The Future. Many major global companies are shifting resources out of China due to concerns about privacy and its international relations. But US fast-food brands are doubling down on the country’s 1.4 billion customer base — demonstrating a potential shift for China from global exporter to importer.

Eating up
US fast-food chains have aggressive expansion plans for China.

  • McDonald’s intends to open 3,500 more stores there over the next four years. Almost half of the 150 million global participants in their customer loyalty program are in China.
  • KFC cut the ribbon on their 10,000th store in China this year and plans to open 1,200 more through 2026.
  • Starbucks sunk $220 million into a Chinese manufacturing facility, its largest foreign operation.
  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen launched in Shanghai this summer and hopes to follow up with 1,700 more restaurants through 2033.

Food for thought
China’s economy is suffering. Foreign investment will likely lag until other nations feel that they can trust the country’s government with tech. But unlike manufacturing plants, fast-food franchises are relatively easy to set up and break down and don’t have to worry about security or theft.

After all, you can’t steal IP from a burger.

Luke Perrotta


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