Burger King Enters China

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While McDonald’s has operated in China for some time now, Burger King now appears close to opening its first branch in the country — in Shanghai. BK has high hopes for the country, as do other fast food chains.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Wendy’s is scouting out locations and Hormel Foods is looking at opening hot dog stands.

But the article notes that not all restaurants have thrived in China. Schlotzsky’s Deli withdrew from the market and McDonald’s recently cited “weakness” and put in a new management team. And then there is pricing. BK is charging 40% to 50% less than what it charges in the US.

Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that any multinational fast food chain has little choice but invest in China. BK has 7,956 locations now operating in the US, so there’s not much room left to grow. China, despite the risks, despite the low margins, despite the inevitable cultural missteps, is where the action is.

What about the BK China Web site?
While McDonald’s offers a China Web site, Burger King does not. It’s early yet of course, but BK does not have the best track record in Web globalization. If you visit the corporate site you’ll be hard-pressed to find links to the country sites. As best as I can tell, many countries that BK does business in do not have localized Web sites.

To complicate matters, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.