Popeyes is arriving in China, and it has big plans. The Toronto-based fast food chain on Tuesday inked a lease in Shanghai in order to launch its first store in China. The company has long been eyeing the growing China market but plans continued to get delayed. Popeyes will be exploring the China market with the aim of becoming the number one chicken brand in the country in the coming years.

The fast food chicken chain, which is one of the most prominent brands of the Canada-based Restaurant Brands International, had earlier this year said that it plans to open 1,500 stores over the next decade.

Potential threat to Yum China's KFC

This definitely can become a potential threat to Yum China's KFC. Although KFC has 6,300 stores across 1,300 cities in China and its products are a hit with consumers, Popeyes is likely to give stiff competition to KFC with its wide array of chicken-based products.

Popeyes
Popeyes YouTube Grab

Presently, KFC is the most popular and highest selling fast-food brand in China. However, there are still around 800 cities in China which don't have a KFC store and Popeyes is likely to tap that space. Shanghai is a strategic choice for opening its first store given the city's cosmopolitan atmosphere and an international attraction for millions of tourist.

That said, Popeyes is Restaurant Brand International's last prominent brand that was yet to make its debut in the China market. The fast food chicken chain plans to expand its Asia market with its China launch.

Is the timing right?

KFC
KFC Pixabay

Popeyes is one of the most popular brands in the United States and comes to China with the aim of capturing its fast growing market for chicken products. KFC so far has been the market leader but Chinese consumers have been looking for more options.

Burger King on expansion mode

Restaurant Brands International's coffee chain, Tim Hortons, also recently opened its 28th store in China. Popeyes will not only have face completion from KFC but also from other brands like Burger King which too has been fast expanding into the world's most populous market.

Burger King, which had less than 100 stores in 2012 in China, today had taken its tally to more than 1,100 stores. Moreover, the Chinese economy too is slowing and this might not be the perfect time to be entering the Chinese market.