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Popeyes is opening its first store in Shanghai next year

New chicken in town?

Photographs: courtesy Popeyes
Move over, KFC. US fried chicken chain Popeyes is making moves to become the top chicken brand in China.

According to Reuters, Popeyes signed a lease this week for its first store in Shanghai. It’s planning to open its first store next year (with a location that's still tba) and to build 1,500 more restaurants in the coming decade across the country, becoming the last of Toronto-based food company Restaurant Brands International Inc’s leading brands to enter the country.

RBI CEO Jose Cil believes that Popeyes can become the ‘number one chicken brand here in China and all-around Asia,’ reasoning that customers in this market are ‘looking for other options’. Recently Popeyes went viral thanks to a tweet in response to a shady comment from its competitor Chick-fil-A, ultimately leading Popeyes to a chicken sandwich shortage – Cil stated that this very same menu item will also be offered here when the Shanghai store eventually opens.

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The chicken chain’s hopes aren’t completely unwarranted. Burger King and Tim Hortons – two other RBI brands – have been doing well. Burger King has gone from fewer than 100 stores to around 1,100 since 2012, while Tim Hortons opened its 28th store after first landing in China back in February.

Competition is on its way, so get ready to see more Popeyes in town soon.

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