McDonald’s to set up 1,500 new restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea over the next five years

World’s largest hamburger chain says Hong Kong still an important market amid plans to ramp up scale in the mainland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 10:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2016, 10:50pm

McDonald’s Corporation, the world’s largest hamburger chain, said on Thursday that it was adding more than 1,500 new restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea over the next five years and was on the lookout for suitable investment partners.

The US company said the new outlets are in addition to the more than 2,800 restaurant locations it has in these markets, most of which are company-owned.

“We’re committed to Hong Kong for the long term and intend to combine our global brand with local insights and expertise. This gives us the ability to enable faster decision-making, achieve restaurant growth and deliver a great restaurant experience for our customers in Hong Kong,” said Steve Easterbrook, President and Chief Executive of McDonald’s.

The company has 230 McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong and employs more than 15,000 people. On average, it serves about 1 million customers every day.

In a written reply to South China Morning Post, McDonald’s Hong Kong said: “We have continued our great success in the past 40 years and we know that we would require continued capital expenditure in the future – to open new locations, rebrand our restaurants, accelerate McCafe penetration, and invest in the digital experience so as to take advantage of the opportunities in Hong Kong.”

“We have not approached any potential strategic partner(s) at this point in time and we are still exploring what the right ownership structure will be for the new McDonald’s outlets in Hong Kong,” it said.

Jeannette Chan, regional director of retail department at JLL said McDonald’s ambitious expansion plan showed its confidence on market prospects in Asia.

“Most of the fast food retailers are contemplating expansion or relocation after seeing a sharp fall in Hong Kong retail rentals for street level shops,” she said.

However, some industry experts said the expansion would be largely focused on the mainland, where there is still huge growth potential. “The Hong Kong market is already saturated” sources said.

It would be better for McDonald’s to team up with local partners who have well established retail networks for its expansion in the mainland,” they said.