SINGAPORE, Oct 13 – Yum Brands Inc is partnering with Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd to debut a KFC restaurant in Myanmar in 2015, making it one of the first big Western fast-food chains to enter the newly emerging market. Global companies have been lining up to take advantage of an underpenetrated market in Myanmar, which has been opening up since 2011 after decades of military dictatorship.
Yum, which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut brands, joins a list of companies that includes Unilever and Coca-Cola Co which hope to tap the country’s growing middle and affluent classes, estimated by the Boston Consulting Group to double by 2020. Fewer than four out of 10 consumers in Myanmar frequent restaurants, according to BCG’s 2013 report.
“With 50 million people and a growing middle class with disposable income, the country offers significant consumer opportunity for Yoma Strategic to grow KFC over the long term,” Yoma said in a statement. Yoma, a Myanmar-focused diversified real estate company, said the KFC franchise would initially focus on Yangon, the country’s largest city.
“The development plans call for initial market entry in Yangon and expansion to second/third-tier cities within the country is always a possibility,” JR Ching, head of business development at Yoma Strategic, told Reuters in an email. The company said it was in the process of finalising its business plans and could not give further details.
Yoma, chaired by tycoon Serge Pun, is trying to expand beyond real estate by partnering with international companies trying to enter the Myanmar market. It has a stake in Asia Beverages Co, which distributes bottled water and alcohol in the country, and also has interests in the retail industry.