BEIJING (Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N), the world’s largest fast-food chain, plans to open 150 outlets in China in 2009, the company’s top China executive said on Tuesday, as competition heats up in the rapidly expanding market.
The company expects to maintain 15 percent annual growth for the next few years, said Jeff Schwartz, China chief executive.
“In 2008 we will open a minimum of 125 stores, and we are thinking about 150 in 2009 and continue to ramp that up a little bit,” Schwartz said.
The firm plans to spend $2 billion on capital expenditures in 2008, and sell up to 21 percent of its company-owned restaurants to franchisees over the next few years to focus more resources into fast-growing markets such as China, Russia and India.
The expansion plans this year and next come on top its network of around 800 restaurants across the nation.
But rivals are even more aggressive as the expansion would still leave McDonald’s with less than half the 2,000 KFC stores in China.
Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N), owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, expects 26 percent of earnings to come from China this year.
Burger King expects to see 250 to 300 outlets across China in five years, from only 10 restaurants now.
Reporting by Kirby Chien, editing by Ken Wills