, China
Photo via Yum China's website

Yum China aims to open 20,000 stores by 2026

It also plans to return at least $3b to shareholders from 2024 to 2026 through dividends and share repurchases.

Yum China has unveiled its plans to open 20,000 stores across China by 2026, with the potential to serve approximately 700 million consumers, or roughly half of the nation's population.

With operations spanning over 2,000 cities nationwide, Yum China already serves approximately one-third of China's population.

"The China market will offer us ample white space for the foreseeable future,” said CEO Joey Wat in the company's annual letter to shareholders. “On top of the opportunity to serve more people is a favorable mix change, as Chinese consumers in lower-tier cities gradually upgrade their consumption.”

The letter also noted Yum China's robust performance throughout 2023, its steadfast dedication to shareholder returns, and ambitious strategies for ongoing growth and innovation.

"2023 was a landmark year for Yum China, one of our strongest ever. Transitioning out of the pandemic, we were able not only to seize opportunities amid China's reopening, but also adapt quickly to the year's challenges and sustain strong momentum," said Wat.

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Central to Yum China's agenda is the commitment to delivering value to shareholders and enhancing returns on invested capital. In 2023, the company set a new milestone by returning a record $833m to investors through dividends and share repurchases, amounting to 75% of annual operating profit. 

Looking ahead, Yum China aims to accelerate these returns, with plans to distribute dividends and repurchase shares totaling at least $3b from 2024 to 2026, with $1.5b earmarked for 2024.
 

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