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Foreign F&B Expansion in China


​​China’s middle class has embraced foreign dining. Many Western and Asian food and beverage brands already have sensed opportunity and expanded aggressively across the country, becoming fixtures of China’s malls and shopping streets. In this report, JLL collaborates with retail data specialist LocalGravity to examine what trends underlie the China roll-out strategies of 32 well-known international F&B chains, as well as what insights they hold for brands looking to deepen or establish a presence in the country.​


This guide includes:

  • Analysis of international F&B brands’ expansion strategies based on a range of variables, including but not limited to:
    • Brand country of origin
    • Portfolio size
    • F&B product category
    • Store format
    • Urban residents per store
    • City tier and Region
  • Guide to what types of cities have greatest expansion potential for each brand
  • Examination of what factors can help or hinder global F&B chains’ efforts to conquer the China market

Key highlights:

  • Overall expansion rates were high at over 20% y-o-y in 2015, and China’s strong consumer sector means F&B remains one of the country’s most active areas for growth.
  • Foreign brands remain active in coastal and Tier 1 cities, while also expanding with greater confidence in lower-tier cities and more remote regions.
  • There is some risk in the less-wealthy provincial capitals, where many brands have overexpanded.
  • Small café-format shops selling coffee, tea, and ice cream were the most active category, expanding 30% y-o-y in 2015. 
  • Regional bias is strong among most chains, especially in the south, and there is room to catch up in wealthy east China cities.


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