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Steven McCord
National Director
Head of Retail Research, Asia

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  • 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
Foreign F&B Expansion in China

Discover the trends behind foreign food and beverage brands’ expansion in China, and what lessons they hold for future market entrants.

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.

  • 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.
Key highlights:
Many foreign F&B brands view the China market with understandable enthusiasm – after all, even capturing a small slice of the market there translates into huge absolute sales volumes. Yet the road to successfully taking advantage of the China opportunity is a difficult one, as some restaurant chains have discovered too late.
---- Steven McCord, Head of Retail Research, Asia
“The China F&B market is now one of the world’s largest and fastest moving, but it is still quite fragmented with enormous room for growth.  In this report working with LocalGravity we have tried to shed some light on the expansion strategies of international F&B operators and their site selection in China.  We hope that the trends we have highlighted in amongst the largest chains operating in China we be useful for those F&B brands at an earlier stage of their China journey. ”
---- James Hawkey, Head of Retail, China
Regional Director
Head of Retail, China

James Hawkey
Our dedicated China research team uncovers market trends related to all aspects of real estate, providing objective, fact-based market analysis and commentary. we offers thought leadership, insights and analysis, with teams recognized as an authority in the industry. From local data sourcing and single assignment analysis to global investment, development and locational strategies, we provide critical real estate assessments and insightful forecasting to help achieve your business goals. For more information, visit
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