CHINA'S growing appetite for all things Western has helped McDonald's restaurant in Guangzhou to a group record for first-day trade.
The fast-food outlet made 14,123 sales on Saturday, its first day of business.
''People started to queue up at as early as 4.30 am, though they knew the restaurant would not open till 8 am,'' said a man at the scene.
The lengthening queue braved the chill as they waited for dawn, anxious to be the first to sample the American specialities under the golden arches.
The early-comers had to wait for several hours before a grand opening ceremony began with lion dances.
At 8.30 am, the queue was more than 200 metres long and contained an estimated 3,000 people.
''It was at its longest in the afternoon when people were off work: it extended round the building,'' said the witness.
Occasional showers failed to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm and security guards were employed to maintain order.
''At about 12.30 pm, there were still people queuing,'' the witness said.
''I think people had known the products from television and had been longing to try them.'' Some people had to wait about two hours to get a seat, and the restaurant did not complete its first day's business until 3 am on Sunday.