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Burger King plans big expansion in China

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Burger King is setting its sights on China.

The world’s second-largest hamburger chain says it will open 1,000 restaurants in the country over the next five to seven years. It’s the largest multi-unit development deal in Burger King’s history. There are currently just 63 Burger King restaurants in China.

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McDonald’s Corp. has more than 1,400 restaurants in the country.

Burger King, which has more than 12,500 restaurants worldwide, said Friday that its China expansion is a joint venture with the Kurdoglu family, which runs 450 Burger King restaurants in Turkey, and private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group.

Earlier this month, the chain disclosed plans to open several hundred new locations in Russia. It made a similar expansion deal with a franchisee in Brazil last year.

In the past year 80 percent of Burger King’s new stores have been in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Burger King, which has seen its market share in the United States decline in recent years, was taken private by New York investment firm 3G Capital in late 2010.

The company has since been overhauling its operations. In the United States, the company is focusing on modernizing restaurants. In April it launched its biggest menu expansion, which included fruit smoothies, snack wraps, and salads.

Soon after that the company revealed plans to go public again this summer on the New York Stock Exchange.

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