Kentucky Fried Chicken launched its first artificial intelligence-enabled store in Beijing on Friday, and the fast-food chain said it plans to further expand its layout of smart restaurants, creating more innovative and interesting dining experiences for customers. With the cooperation of Baidu Inc, China’s largest search engine, KFC started its first smart restaurant in the Financial Street area in Beijing…Full Article: Dec 2016

Key Point

  • According to the Deputy Director of the Institute of Deep Learning of Baidu, the AI machine at the Beijing KFC can take pictures of customers and will then recommend food orders based on a previous visits. The machine will consider the customers face, sex, age, mood, and dining habits.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In early 2017, Yum China Holdings (YUMC) will reportedly open Taco Bell outlets in mainland China.
  • In November 2016, Yum China Holdings began trading at the NYSE (YUMC). At the time, Yum China Holdings had approximately 5,000 Kentucky Fried Chickens (~1,100 cities), 1,600 Pizza Hut restaurants (~400 cities), and 350 Pizza Hut Delivery/E-commerce stores (~50 cities) in China.
  • In September 2016, Yum Brands announced it secured investors for its Chinese spinoff. Primavera Capital Group would invest US$410 million while Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group (Alibaba’s online payment application Alipay) would invest US$50 million.
  • In June 2016, Yum Brands announced it would delay its Chinese spinoff plans. The decision was made after key investors decided to delay bids after Yum Brands instituted new terms on investments. Additionally, potential investors believed that the US$10 billion valuation by Yum Brands for the new division was too high. At the same time, Primavera Capital, a Chinese private equity company with offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, was seeking a minority investment in the Yum’s Chinese division.
  • In May 2016, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, China Investment Corp (CIC) and KKR advanced to the second round of bidding for a minority stake in Yum’s Chinese division. At the time, Yum Brands Chinese division was valued between US$8 billion to US$11 billion. The second round of bids is for approximately a 20% stake in the new company. During the same month, KFC opened an high-tech concept restaurant in Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center. The restaurant allowed customers to order food via Baidu’s Duer, a virtual personal assistant.
  • In April 2016, China Investment Corp (CIC) announced it may invest the new Chinese division of Yum Brands.
  • In March 2016, Yum Brands announced it would open its first Taco Bell fast food restaurant in China by the end of the year. Additionally, Yum Brands opened its first Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant in Tibet.
  • As of December 2015, Yum Brands operated approximately 6,900 restaurants (e.g. KFC, Pizza Hut, etc.) in roughly 1,000 Chinese cities. During the same month, KFC announced it would open its first restaurant in Tibet in January 2016.
  • In late-October 2015, Yum Brands announced it would split off its Chinese division into a separate company.
  • In mid-October 2015, Yum stated it would lower its annual growth forecast in light of lackluster sales.
  • In August 2015, there was speculation that Yum Brands would spin off its KFC division after the CEO of Yum’s KFC Division transitioned to the CEO position of Yum China.
  • In June 2015, Kentucky Fried Chickens comprised 4,889 out of Yum’s 6,853 (or 71%) restaurants in China.
  • Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Shanghai, East Dawning (a subsidiary of Yum Brands) is a fast food chain that sells various Chinese noodle dishes, steamed buns, and fruit tea beverages.
  • KFC is owned by Yum Brands, a company that also manages Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The company also manages a high-end Italian restaurant in Shanghai called “Atto Primo”.

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