SHANGHAI (AdAgeChina.com) -- McDonald's Corp. has opened its 1,000th outlet in China in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan in Guangdong province, the manufacturing hub of mainland China. Dongguan was also the site of China's first drive-through restaurant, introduced by McDonald's in 2005.
The U.S. fast food giant plans to open 175 restaurants in China next year, creating 12,000 jobs in the mainland, said Jeff Schwartz, Shanghai-based CEO of McDonald's in China.
China is the fastest country in the world outside of the U.S. to reach the milestone of 1,000 restaurants.
McDonald's has focused heavily on growing its operation in China over the last four years, although it still lags behind its chief rival. Yum! Brands has more than 2,200 KFC outlets in about 450 Chinese cities, compared to about 950 for the Golden Arches.
KFC launched in China earlier than McDonald's with a savvy growth strategy that focused on localized menus. Primarily a chicken restaurant, KFC has enjoyed a natural advantage over McDonald's in China, where poultry is more popular than beef, and burgers have never been part of the local cuisine.
McDonald's has fought back over the past four years, however, largely by sponsoring the 2008 Olympic Games in August 2008 in Beijing. It has also started rolling out drive-through restaurants, helped by a 20-year deal with China oil giant Sinopec to build restaurants at its 30,000 petrol stations across China.
To increase sales, McDonald's has extended its opening hours so 80% of the company's restaurants in Hong Kong and China are open 24 hours a day.
A "grab & go" breakfast menu prices value meals as low as 6 RMB (88 cents).
McDonald's has also localized its menu with products such as a Shake shake chicken patty. Launched this month with advertising from DDB, Shanghai, customers shake the cooked patty in a spice-filled bag, flavored with spices or curry, before eating it.
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