BEIJING - McDonald's will open 175 to 200 restaurants in China next year as it steps up its expansion in the nation.
Having established its first restaurant on the mainland in 1990 in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, McDonald's currently has more than 1,100 stores in China with more than 60,000 employees.
"China is the fastest growing market for McDonald's worldwide in terms of new store openings and our aim is to add another 1,000 stores in China by the end of 2013," said Kenneth Chan, chief executive officer of McDonald's (China) Co Ltd.
By the end of December, McDonald's will have opened 165 stores on the Chinese mainland this year, creating a record in terms of the opening of new restaurants in a single year, Chan said.
By then, the company will have 400 McDelivery outlets and more than 900 Dessert Kiosks in 11 cities across China, and 80 percent of its restaurants will provide 24-hour service.
Along with the expansion of restaurants, McDonald's is carrying out a store refurbishment plan with the newly introduced "LIM" style - short for "Less is More" - and other designs.
Four McDonald's restaurants featuring the "LIM" concept opened for business on Wednesday in Beijing's Wangfujing Street shopping district.
"By the end of next year, about 100 restaurants (in China) are expected to feature the LIM design concept and 80 percent of stores nationwide will have finished updating their image by 2013," Chan said.
The company will apply different design styles in different regions in an effort to attract more consumers.
McDonald's investment in China increased 25 percent this year and it expects its total investment in the nation to rise another 40 percent next year.
The investment will mainly be devoted to the opening of new restaurants and the refurbishment of existing outlets, he said.
In 2010, as part of its refurbishment program in China, McDonald's gradually began opening McCafe areas in its restaurants.
McCafe offers customers a cafe experience with a variety of coffees.
Over the next three years, half of all new restaurants will feature drive-thrus and the number of McDelivery outlets will grow to nearly 550.
Chan said that China's rapid urbanization means that people are traveling greater distances. As they will usually travel by car, the drive-thru service could satisfy the growing demand of these customers.
"The fast expansion plan is coming now because we have laid solid foundations in our supply chain and business model in the past 20 years."