fast food /Western

fast food /Western
Although Western fast-food restaurants did not open in China until the late 1980s, their explosive growth during the 1990s has become a symbol of the rapidly changing Chinese popular culture and the explosive growth of the Chinese economy resulting from Deng Xiaoping’s ‘reform and opening’ (gaige kaifang) policies. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was one of the first Western fast-food companies to open a restaurant in China in 1987, and with its success, many others followed suit, including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Brownies (Canadian), Café de Coral (Hong Kong), Vie de France (Japan), Yoshinoya (Japan). The first American hamburger company to open fast-food restaurants in China was actually not McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s, but Alfreds International Inc.’s Fast Lane Burger in 1990; McDonald’s followed shortly with the opening of its first Chinese restaurant in Shenzhen in 1990. KFC is by far the most successful of Western fast-food restaurants in China: in 2002, there were over 600 KFC restaurants in China, compared to over 400 McDonald’s, and according to an A.C.Nielsen survey released in 2001, KFC was the most popular international brand name (Coca-Cola was fourth, McDonald’s was fifth). Western fast-food restaurants have been very successful in China for a number of factors: the increased amount of family income spent on children by families (including youth spending money), its symbolic representation of modernity and the United States, concerns over food safety and the high, standardized quality of food and the restaurant environment, and its relative prestige and novelty compared to other food options (although this factor is gradually waning).
See also: fast food (Chinese and Western clones); popular culture, mass culture
Watson, James L. (ed.) (1997). Golden Arches East: McDonald’s in East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Lozada, Eriberto P. (2000). ‘Globalized Childhood? Kentucky Fried Chicken in Beijing’. In Jun Jing, (ed.), Feeding China’s Little Emperors: Food, Children, and Social Change. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 114–34.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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