Whether measured by number of restaurants, revenue, or market share, KFC is far and away the number one restaurant brand in China. Even more striking is its dominance over McDonald’s, a position that is reversed in nearly every other country. McDonald’s has 800 branches in China, compared to KFC’s 2200 and, with KFC opening 300 new branches per year, the gap is widening.
KFC China is not just outperforming the competition. In 2007 it contributed more than 20 percent of global revenue of parent company Yum!, whose brand portfolio includes Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. It is a proportion that is likely to grow up to and beyond 50 percent, according to Taiwan-born Warren Liu, a former member of the company’s Greater China executive committee.
Liu, who was with Yum! for three years from 1997, and is in Beijing to promote a book about his experience with the company, is very clear about the reasons for this remarkable success story. KFC China, he says, quite simply went native.
See also related story from China Daily, on “How the Colonel Captured China”