Summary: McDonald's is trying to send a new message to its Chinese consumers: it's all about the beef. As it shifts from a chicken-heavy menu and tries to emphasize its upscale "Western image" and the appeal of beef -- which is considered a luxury -- McDonald's is promoting beef burgers such as the recently introduced Quarter Pounder on TV commercials and print advertising using an obvious sexual theme that plays on Chinese views that beef is manly, boosts energy, and increases sex appeal. McDonald's is in the middle of an expansion as it eyes an additional 230 restaurant openings by 2008 for a total of about 1,000 locations. Also, it recently signed a deal with the nation's largest gasoline retailer to open stores at existing and future gas stations. Although McDonald's still wants to incorporate local tastes in its menu, it also wants to diverge from rival Yum! Brands' KFC, which has twice as many restaurants but caters more to local tastes. McDonald's chief marketing and corporate-affairs officer in China comments, "People want McDonald's to be a Western brand. When people come to us, they want an alternative to what they can get everywhere else." Read full article >
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