Fast-food giant McDonald's has formed an alliance with the mainland's largest petroleum fuel distributor to open drive-through outlets in petrol stations as it seeks to tap fast growth in the car market. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) said it had signed a deal with McDonald's and Oriental Group Creation to develop 'a nationwide food store chain'. It said the firms planned to open outlets in large and medium-sized cities before expanding operations to other parts of the mainland. The company did not give details of the number of stations involved, the investment or the revenue-sharing structure. A Sinopec spokesman said the company had leased space unrelated to the petrol distribution operation to Oriental for value-added services. Oriental had in turn entered into a business arrangement with McDonald's. The spokesman declined to reveal details of the co-operation's commercial arrangement, citing a confidentiality agreement, but added: 'Our business plan has not been finalised. We still have to discuss a lot of things.' McDonald's would open 100 stores annually in the mainland from next year, half of which would feature drive-through, Xinhua Financial Networks quoted McDonald's chief operating officer Mike Roberts as saying. Some analysts said only a tiny portion of Sinopec's 30,000 petrol stations would be suitable for drive-throughs as most stations in big cities were not large enough. 'The main difficulty is finding the sites that have enough space for drive-throughs as you can't put cooking facilities too close to the gas pumps,' Fitch Ratings analyst Ma Shang said. 'Besides, the renovation costs of the stations could be quite high to ensure safety.' Albert Kwong, the president of oil and gas consultancy PetroAsian Energy, said stations on intercity highways would have sufficient space for drive-throughs, but he questioned whether highway users, mainly truck drivers, would be a mature market for McDonald's. 'In developed countries, you have a big family travellers' market for McDonald's, but in China, it has yet to reach a critical size,' he said. 'Truck drivers are not likely to be keen on McDonald's.'