KFC to open first Myanmar outlet in 2015

Image source, Yum! Brands
Image caption, The KFC franchise is a popular label for parent company Yum! Brands

KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands, has teamed up with Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings to bring the franchise to Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Both parties are aiming to open their first KFC restaurant there in 2015.

US-based Yum! says the move reflects the firm's "global strategy of expansion in emerging markets".

KFC sees Myanmar as "an important emerging Asian economy with a population of 50 million people".

Those comments were made by KFC's chief executive Micky Pant in a statement.

Yoma Strategic Holdings is an investment holding company based in Singapore, with various business interests in Myanmar that span across several industries, including real estate, agriculture and tourism.

Serge Pun, Yoma's executive chairman, pointed out that chicken was a staple protein in Myanmar.

Mr Pun added: "Bringing KFC to Myanmar is an important step to achieving Yoma Strategic's goal in being a key player in the country's food and beverage sector."

Yoma also said the company was "keen to tap into Myanmar's growing consumer class that is forecast to grow from 2.5 million today to 19 million in 2030, potentially tripling consumer spending".

Emerging growth

KFC's chicken-based menu ranks among the fastest growing brand for Yum! whose other restaurants in the group include Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Yum! Brands earns about $13bn (£8bn) in annual revenues.

Earlier this year, KFC tapped into another emerging market and opened its first store in Bolivia in July.

The parent company Yum! has said that it plans to invest $10bn with franchise partners in emerging markets, in order to have more than 20,000 KFC restaurants operating in those markets by 2020.

According to company figures, there are currently some 14,000 KFC restaurants in emerging markets, including China and India.

Image caption, Myanmar recently opened its doors and economy to welcome foreign investment

Analysis: Jonah Fisher, BBC News, Myanmar

It's hard to walk a block in central Bangkok without coming across a Starbucks or McDonald's.

In Yangon, the opposite is true.

Small teashops still clutter the pavement, selling sweet tea, coffee and Burmese snacks for patrons to nibble on as they read the papers.

That's not to say there hasn't been change. Large malls are being built and Asian franchises in particular are setting up.

There's now a Freshness Burger (Japan) next to the glittering Schwedagon, a Manhattan Fish Market (Singapore) on the Strand and fast-food chains Lotteria (S Korea) and Marrybrown (Malaysia).

This deal is between KFC's holding company Yum! Brands and a man some call Myanmar's "Mr Clean".

The white-haired Serge Pun heads a sprawling conglomerate that includes property interests and an airline.

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