KFC’s track record of success in mainland consumer market confirms wisdom of reform, opening-up

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/7 21:53:39

It has been nearly three decades since US-based fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) entered the Chinese mainland market. The story of its development in China reflects not only the success of the Western restaurant chain's cross-cultural operation, but also the fruition of China's reform and opening-up.

Many Beijingers can still recall the long lines outside the first KFC store after its launch in Qianmen in November 1987. More than just bringing the "fast food" concept to China, In its early days, KFC's booming sales were driven by the social conditions of the time and the nation's opening-up policy. Its success motivated other foreign brands to enter China and promoted the development of China's fast food sector.

Yet, with the rise of Chinese fast food brands such as Kungfu Catering, Lihua Fast Food and Daniang Dumpling, foreign chains like KFC have sensed growing pressure in recent years. And it has been KFC's localization strategy that has made the difference amid fierce competition. Compared with other Western fast food brands in China, KFC has been especially active in integrating itself into the local market. While adjusting its menu to the local palate to sell Chinese-style food like congee, youtiao (fried dough) and Beijing chicken rolls, KFC also incorporated local idols into its marketing campaign. Such efforts paid off as the chain evolved with the economy.

Great changes have taken place in the Chinese economy since KFC's entry 30 years ago. Just like KFC, fast food has become part of the daily diet of Chinese people and foreign businesses have been deeply integrated into the Chinese economy. All these changes are the results of reform and opening-up. In this sense, China should continue to pursue a policy of reform and opening-up, which has proved beneficial to the Chinese economy, the Chinese people and foreign businesses like KFC.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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