(MENAFN - AFP) McDonald's said Thursday it plans to open more than 1,500 restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea over the next five years and wants partners in the Asia expansion.
The US fast-food giant has more than 2,800 restaurants in the three markets, most of which are company-owned. Worldwide, more than 80 percent are owned and operated by independent local people, and the company's long-term goal is to be 95 percent franchised.
"Asia represents a significant area of opportunity for McDonald's to blend our global quality standards with local insights and expertise from partners who share our vision and values," said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's president and chief executive, in a statement.
Easterbrook, who has been leading a turnaround at the company since taking the helm a year ago, said the outreach for partners would help accelerate growth and scale faster across diverse markets "placing us closer to our customers and the communities we serve."
China, Hong Kong and South Korea are part of McDonald's "high-growth markets" segment, which includes countries having relatively higher restaurant expansion and franchising potential.
McDonald's recently announced it was seeking strategic partners in Taiwan and Japan as it seeks to reduce the number of restaurants that it owns and operates.
Shares in Dow member McDonald's edged up 0.1 percent to $125.96 in early trade.