Jollibee may open first store in China 'in near future', CEO says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2019 08:54 AM

Fastfood giant Jollibee store at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Jollibee Foods Corp may expand its home-grown fast food chain brand in China within the next 5 years, its CEO said.

JFC operates a Dunkin' Donuts franchise in China. 

It also has 8 stores in Hong Kong where 40 to 50 percent of customers are "local Chinese," JFC president and CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong told Christine Tan in an exclusive interview for CNBC's Managing Asia. 

"In China, hopefully in the near future we will be able to enter the market," Tanmantiong told CNBC. 

When asked when will the first Jollibee open in the mainland, Tanmantiong said: "We're looking at within 5 years, where we should be able to do that."

The brand's expansion strategy is focused on the areas where there are a lot of Filipinos, expanding to local markets after that, he said. 

"We build the base and slowly cross over to the mainstream market, which is the local market. We have done that successfully in Hong Kong and in Singapore," Tanmantiong said. 

There are 6 stores in Singapore where 50 percent of customers are also locals, he said. 

Last November, JFC said it planned to expand the number of its stores in the US to 150 in 5 years and add 100 branches in Canada. Both countries have many migrants from the Philippines.

Jollibee is also planning to open its first store in Rome and in Spain and is also exploring other markets including Australia, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, Tanmantiong said.