McDonald’s Aims to Expand to 10,000 Stores in China by 2028

On February 5, McDonald’s announced its fourth quarter and full-year results up to December 31, 2023. McDonald’s achieved a revenue of $25.494 billion in 2023, an increase of 10% year-on-year; the net profit was $8.469 billion, a year-on-year increase of 37%.

The performance in the Chinese market was particularly impressive. In the fourth quarter of 2023, global same-store sales increased by 3.4%, with all segmented markets achieving growth; for the whole of 2023, McDonald’s global same-store sales increased by 9.0%. The international franchised market division, which includes China, grew the fastest. As of December 31, 2023, McDonald’s China had 5,903 stores, with 925 new stores added throughout the year, achieving the annual target of adding 900 stores, setting a new record in store opening speed. The number of new stores in the Chinese market contributed to 67% of the new store share in McDonald’s international franchised market division. “Overall, our performance in China in 2023 was very good, and we are satisfied with the performance of our China business, achieving strong growth,” said McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski.

On December 6, 2023, Chris Kempczinski stated that the company plans to increase the number of restaurants in China from around 6,000 to around 10,000 by 2028. He further optimistically predicted, “There is no reason why the Chinese market cannot have 20,000-25,000 restaurants, which will become our largest market globally.”

Given the long-term development expectations of the Chinese market, McDonald’s will continue to expand aggressively in 2024. It is expected to open more than 2,100 restaurants globally in 2024, with net restaurant expansion contributing nearly 2% to the total system sales growth for 2024. The international franchised market will open more than 1,600 stores, of which the Chinese market will open about 1,000. However, Chris Kempczinski also admitted that Chinese consumers’ confidence is under pressure, and there were more promotions in the Chinese market from fast-food chains in the fourth quarter of 2023. “We don’t necessarily have to follow suit, but it’s certain that there are more promotions.”

Meanwhile, China’s fast-food chain market is also facing fiercer competition. The “China Western Fast Food Category Development Report 2023” released by the Red Catering Brand Research Institute shows that in 2021, the Western fast-food market grew by 10.4% year-on-year, and the market size further rose to about 250 billion yuan in 2022. McDonald’s old rival in China, KFC, achieved a scale of 10,000 stores first. On December 15, 2023, KFC opened its 10,000th store in Hangzhou, becoming the first overseas brand in the Chinese catering market to achieve a scale of 10,000 stores.

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