McDonald's will open its 2,000th mainland China location by end of April, amid high expectations about further expansion of burger chain in nation's market, says CEO of McDonald's China

GUANGZHOU, China , April 18, 2014 () – McDonald's will open its 2,000th mainland restaurant by the end of April, amid high expectations about further expansion of the chain in the Chinese market.

It's a milestone in the growth of the US fast-food company, Kenneth Chan, CEO of McDonald's China, said.

"In 2013, we opened a record 275 restaurants in the mainland, and that makes the country the fastest growing market in terms of restaurant openings in the McDonald system," Chan told a press conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday.

The McDonald's expansion in China will also have a franchising focus over the next few years, Chan said.

"Franchising first started in China in 2008 with three franchisees, and at the end of last year, McDonald's has 46 new franchisees with total franchised units representing 12 percent of its restaurant base. The target is to grow that number between 20 and 25 percent by 2015," Chan said.

"Franchising takes the brand right into the heart of China's local entrepreneurship. And with local ownership and local pride, we are building the long-term sustainability of both the brand and the business," he said.

McDonald's that opened its first restaurant in the Shenzhen special economic zone of Guangdong province in 1990 had more than 1,900 restaurants in the Chinese mainland at the end of 2013, employing more than 100,000 people.

In 2013 alone, McDonald's restaurants in China attracted more than 1.5 billion diners.

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