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McDonald’s plans to nearly double restaurants in China

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s will nearly double the number of restaurants in China in the next five years, eventually surpassing Japan as the hamburger chain’s second-biggest market outside the U.S.

The company expects to have 4,500 restaurants in China by 2022, up from 2,500. With fewer people eating at U.S. locations, it hopes to grow sales in China by double digits in each of the next five years.

Slowing traffic at home has other American companies turning to China for growth. Starbucks, for example, wants have 5,000 coffee shops in the country by 2021, more than doubling its store count. Some chains, however, have run into trouble in China. Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, spun off its 7,500 restaurants in China into a separate company after it failed to revive declining sales.

The announcement from McDonald’s Corp. Tuesday comes a week after it completed a previously announced deal to sell most of its operations in China. The deal leaves McDonald’s, based near Chicago in Oak Brook, Illinois, with a 20 percent stake in its China business.

McDonald’s said 45 percent of its China restaurants will be in smaller cities, such as Shantou and Shijiazhuang. And 75 percent of the stores will offer delivery.

There are about 37,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide and more than 14,000 in the U.S.