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McDonald's Plans 1,500 New Restaurants In Asia

McDonald's plans to open 1,500 new restaurants in China, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The fast food company already has 2,800 restaurants in the three countries, which it identifies as "high-growth markets".

It (Other OTC: ITGL - news) has also previously revealed plans for growth in Taiwan (Taiwan OTC: 6549.TWO - news) and Japan.

The expansion comes as the Illinois-based company looks towards faster-growing markets in the hope of reversing last year's fall in customer numbers.

Chief executive Steve Easterbrook is handling an overhaul of the business, after admitting it had failed to keep up with changing tastes.

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Mr Easterbrook, who became CEO a year ago, said in a statement: "Asia represents a significant area of opportunity for McDonald's to blend our global quality standards with local insights and expertise from partners who share our vision and values.

"These actions build on our turnaround efforts and will advance local ownership, enable faster decision-making and achieve restaurant growth."

The plans for China, South Korea and Hong Kong will see McDonald's giving local managers more power to make decisions in response to the tastes of Asian customers.

The company owns most of its existing restaurants in Asia, rather than having them owned by franchisees.

But it wants to change this to allow more of its restaurants in the region to become locally-owned, with a long-term goal set at 95%.

In January, McDonald's announced a 5% fall in full-year profit to $4.5bn (£3.13bn) while revenues were 7% lower at $25.4bn (£17.7bn).