Comparative Analysis KFC’S Marketing Strategies

Comparative Analysis KFC’S Marketing Strategies





3.0.1 Product 10

3.0.2 Price. 12

3.0.3 Promotion.. 13

3.0. 4 Place. 14


4.0. 1 Social Factor 15

4.0. 2 Cultural Factor 16

4.0. 3. The Economic Factor 17

4.0. 4 Technology. 18

4.0. 5 Competition.. 18

4.0. 6 The Challenge of Globalization.. 18


Reference List 23







Comparative Analysis: KFC’s Marketing Strategies in China and the UK


Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world. It is an American company with a number of subsidiaries around the globe. The company is involved in the provision of goods in the food industry. KFC restaurants are one of the best food stores in the UK and China. The UK restaurant is located in London. As an international business, it is faced with stiff competition from various competitors who are offering the same range of products. Therefore, the company operates in a market, which can be said to be perfectly competitive in nature. KFC is a perfectly competitive firm due to a number of unique features that are exhibited by the industry. First, the KFC operates in a market that has many buyers and sellers. The food industry is one of the sectors of the economy that has many competitors. The customers of the company only take prices that have been set by the company and there is no bargaining that is involved. It is also involved in offering products that are uniform with the ones that are offered by other players in the market.

The competitors of this firm offer the same products, which indicate that KFC operates in a market where the products being offered are uniform. KFC restaurants also operate in a market where information on prices is readily available to all the market players. Information on prices charged on food products by various firms in the industry is readily available to the buyers as well as sellers in this sector of the economy (Parsa & Kwansa, 2001). Finally, KFC restaurants operate in a market where there is no barrier to exit or entry. Other firms are free to enter or exist in the food industry.

KFC must employ the right marketing strategies because of the competitive nature of the industry in which it operates. This can be achieved by creating a strong brand for the firm and at the same time providing high quality food items. This is the only ways that the firm can attract customers and at the same time retain its current customers. The management of KFC should also be aware that not all the market strategies could work well across different cultures. The UK market is diametrically different from that of China. Therefore, KFC’s marketing strategies have not been uniform in the two countries. This paper will explore the marketing strategies between the UK and China. Chapter 2 will evaluate the role of the marketing strategy in the success of a firm. The various elements of strategies including positioning, differentiation and market offering will be discussed. Indeed, the heart of a successful marketing campaign lies in the strategy that a company adopts. Therefore, chapter 3 is dedicated to the marketing strategies employed by KFC in both the UK and China. The Chapter will be concerned with analyzing how effectively the company has been able to apply different marketing strategies in the two markets. Chapter 4 will extrapolate the reasons behind the different marketing strategies in the UK and China. This will focus on the similarities and the differences between the two markets as well as the choice of the strategy for each market. Finally, Chapter 5 will provide a summary of the discussion as well as the conclusions that can be drawn from this study. Moreover, the Chapter will provide a suggestion on what other firms can learn from this comparative analysis.


Marketing strategy is useful in realizing the objectives and goals set out by the company executives. The purpose of a strategy is to make sure that resources are optimally used in the market arena. A good marketing strategy comprises of the various components of the marketing mix, which include the product, place, price, and promotion. Indeed, local and multinational corporations are finding that the marketing strategy is a persuasive tool for sustainable competition in the pursuit of company goals and objectives (Boone & Kurtz, 2008, p. 225). Marketing strategy underscores a variety of factors, both internal and external. To understand its position in the market, KFC must employ the SWOT analysis, which helps understand the internal and the external environment in which the company operates. It is the understanding of these parameters that KFC can determine the right marketing mix or each market.

In order for the firm to pursue its goals of maximizing profit effectively, it has to be aware of various marketing concepts in order to develop the right products as well as marketing strategies that are in line with the goals of the restaurant. The management of the firm must take cognizance of the fact that positioning is paramount in the competitive market arena.

Positioning involves the image that one wants to create in the mind of the customers. It entails creating a mental picture in the consumers of what one offers in respect to the market and any competition in the market (Parsa & Kwansa, 2001). For instance, IKEA positions itself as low cost company (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008, p. 116). This strategy has kept the company profitable over the years, while competitors are struggling to penetrate in the US market. Such a structure is the essence behind the company’s success (Ferrel & Hartline, 2010). Positioning helps create differential advantage in comparison to that of the competitors. In addition, it should be used to show that the firm’s brand is of high quality than others. KFC positions itself as a provider of satisfaction.

Another important concept that the restaurant management needs to take into account when it comes to developing its marketing strategies is the development of new products (Parsa & Kwansa, 2001, p. 26). Introduction as well as development of new products is an important undertaking in any given business organization (Hitt, Ireland & Hoskisson, 2008). This can be achieved by allocating appropriate resources needed to oversee new product development. In order to come with new products, several factors should be taken into account. To start with, the target population must be clearly defined. There is no way a company can develop products without clearly defining its target market (Parsa & Kwansa, 2001). Additionally, the gap that exists in the market must be identified with an aim of measuring the selling potential of the new product or service. This will help the company avoid wasting resources in developing a product. The issues of features that need to be in the product need to be taken into account to ensure that the product meets the health standards set by the relevant regulatory authority. At the same time, it helps the marketers to come with a product that has the features that attractive to the intended customers. The right product must appeal to consumers in many ways. The packaging, design, quality is important. In addition, the product must be in line with values held dear by society.

Marketing strategy is also concerned with product differentiation. For a product to sell in a market that is competitive and harsh, it must have unique features. The marketing techniques that are employed by the seller should bring out the unique features of the product that make it different from similar products in the market. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the marketing strategy employed by the company is able to create a picture in the mind of the consumer that the product being offered by the company is of high quality and will be of benefit to the consumers. The process should be aimed at influencing the buying decision in the targeted group.

Consumer decision- making process can be viewed as the stages that buyers undertake while deciding on which product to buy and which one not to buy (Sun & Lancaster, 2013). The consumer decision-making process is an important aspect of marketing as it is useful in the development of the marketing strategy. Indeed, it helps the marketer to consider the consumer satisfaction process. According to Ferrel & Hartline, (2010), consumers go through five important stages before making a purchase. These stages include recognizing needs & problem awareness, search for information, evaluation of available alternatives, making a purchase and finally carrying out the post-purchases analysis or evaluation. Therefore, marketing strategy employed should be aimed at influencing the consumer buying decision at every stage (Ferrel & Hartline, 2010).

The marketing mix is important because it strengthens the strategy adopted by a company. The marketing mix defines the 4ps that must be taken into account when executing the marketing strategy. These 4ps include the place, product, price, and promotion. The location of the customer is important as it helps the marketer in developing a marketing strategy that is aimed at segmenting the different categories of customers. This in turn enables the marketer to employ a unique marketing approach that best suits the segment in question. The products are the most important because it determines the other components in the marketing mix. A company must endeavor to have the right product at the right time in the market. Besides, the product must meet the needs of the target market. If it does not meet the expectations of the customers, chances are that it will fail. Price is an important concept that needs to be taken into consideration when developing the marketing mix. The price charged for every product should be based on the quality of the product being offered. The price should attract more customers to buy the product instead of keeping them off. Therefore, the prices charged for the product should be fair and aimed at buying the confidence of the customer on the products offered (Sun & Lancaster, 2013). On the other hand, promotional methods to be applied by the company should be well thought before they are put into use (Sun & Lancaster, 2013). The firm may end up investing million of dollars in promotion and not achieve the intended goal. The method of promotion to be used must largely depend on the targeted audience and the cost of the medium to be used.

For instance, IKEA is one of the few multinational companies, which have been able to make good use of marketing strategies to in differentiating its products and building a brand that has enabled it to be one of the leading companies in its industry. The company has been using a combination of positioning and pricing strategies for years to penetrate different markets. The positioning strategy has been used to build a brand of products, which are different from others in the market giving the company a competitive advantage. Pricing strategy has been used effectively to attract categories of different customers over the years making the company to have a substantial market share over the years.

In conclusion, the marketing strategy is an important component in the success of a company in any given market. It is through the marketing strategy that a firm can make great strides in the competitive market arena. However, this success is based on a thorough understanding of the market. The success of any company depends on the strategy that it will adopt in the market. In the pursuit of its goal, a company must understand its strength and weaknesses. In addition, it must take cognizance of the external environment in order to gauge the threats and opportunities in both markets. This will help in determining the right marketing mix that will work in each market well.


KFC is a fast growing food restaurant in the UK. This growth has been attributed to a number of factors, the major one being its ability to employ the right marketing strategies. There are different types of marketing strategies that a firm can employ in the competitive marketing field. The choice of strategy depends on the nature of the business as well as the products being offered (Sun & Lancaster, 2013). When employing a given set of marketing approaches, one needs to be aware of the things that should be taken into consideration. The main goal of the marketing strategy should be to create a competitive advantage on the part of the product being sold against other food products offered by competitors in the same industry. It is important to note that KFC is a multinational food store that has also operations in China. Companies must set their strategies to suit the needs of the market. For a multinational, it must appreciate that different markets have different needs. Therefore, KFC must have unique strategies for each market. This section will discuss the different strategies employed by KFC in the UK and China. In doing so, this section will specifically look at the marketing mix used in both markets.

3.0.1 Product

The product is the first element in the marketing mix. KFC has used a localization strategy in producing its products in the Chinese market. KFC’s product localization, especially to the Chinese market was aimed at preparing food products that are compatible with the people’s culture (Hsu, 2008, p. 202). The bottom line here was to have an understanding of the cultural values of the Chinese people and satisfy their needs. The Chinese were made to believe that the KFC restaurants and products were domestically Chinese-made. Before venturing into product localization, KFC first recruited the locals into the management structure. The recruitment of Chinese locals into the managing structure of KFC was aimed at diffusing the hatred of anything Western. The next effort was the development of products that had local preferences. In this case, KFC adapted their foreign brand to suit the local market needs. However, in the UK the company has been using almost similar tactics like those in China, though with some slight differences. In the UK, the taste was not changed since the American consumers had similar characteristics as those of the UK.

The main target market of KFC’s products in the UK is people of aged between 11and 40 years. Therefore, the company has adopted multiple marketing strategies to make sure that all the groups in the market are effectively covered. The forefront strategy is catering for the taste of every member in all the age groups by offering various products in the market such as kids’ meal for the young kids, family buckets, boxed up meal and side items among others. The company has also come up with cheap products to low class customers such as popcorn chicken to enhance affordability and make the firm more competitive. On the other hand, the target group in China are people aged between 16 and 25. These people have the highest purchasing power in terms of their frequency to the fast food restaurants. Other age groups have also been targeted. However, the older Chinese are conscious about the food they eat because of heath risks posed by fast foods. In addition, children are discouraged because of growing obese.

KFC has maintained its brand name as a unique name in the UK. This has helped to build the customers trust in their products’ taste and preferences unlike those of other companies like McDonald. A customer would wish to catch the taste of other companies’ products, but if they are dissatisfied, they will revert to KFC. The company has done quite a good job of retaining its customers by simply keeping a track on them and valuing them. The brand name has since not changed. This guarantees customers of quality fries from KFC (Cheng & Chan, 2009).

The Chinese market has been experiencing competition from McDonald and so to respond to this competition, KFC has been exercising a number of marketing strategies to keep up with the phase. The Chinese are very much optimistic about new foods and so KFC had first to adjust to the local environment and provide several kinds of local foods that appeal to the Chinese people. This was achieved by providing some of the favorite local foods such as “soya been milk and traditional Chinese fried Youtiao,” mostly for breakfast. Owing to the fact that Western food is not like that of China, KFC managed to create quite a number of the locally tasting food, which was taken positively by the Chinese. Indeed, KFC realized that their business had to adapt to the local conditions in order to thrive in the Chinese market. Accordingly, KFC has become a leader in fast food market segment in China (Kuil, 2008, p. 34). This was unlike competing companies like McDonald who did not take this as a big issue.

3.0.2 Price

Price is a critical component in the marketing of KFC products in different segments within the two markets. Different products require different pricing. For example, 10 piece hamburgers for $9.99 sounds better than just quoting the price for a single unit of such product. This strategy has made the company maintain the rank of the “world’s largest fast food chicken chain” compared to the competitors. KFC has always been at the forefront in offering the best prices for its customers. This strategy has been employed to keep itself ahead of competitors like McDonald and Subways in the UK market. The organization’s target was to offer products with good price to satisfy the customers’ needs. The company has been offering standard prices to its products to keep customers flowing in their business outlets. Low prices make customers have the perception that the product is of low quality. KFC had fewer complications in pricing since the raw materials are found locally in the supermarkets or from the farmers. The customers have always enjoyed discounts from the organization, which strongly encouraged and improved the buying tradition of the customers.

In China, the prices have also been set at high level because many Chinese are willing to spend more o taste foreign foods (Flannery, 2011). In addition, the countries economic fortunes have been going up over the last 10 years. Indeed, China did not experience the shocks of 2007 financial crisis that affected the Euro zone. In essence, many Chinese are doing well financially, and have enough money to spare for Western-style meals. Although some people are critical of the high prices, KFC chooses to use high prices, hoping the market will continue growing and that clients will adapt to the higher prices.

3.0.3 Promotion

KFC has spent a lot of money in their marketing campaigns for the promotion of its ideologies and products in a manner that the customers get the clear picture of their messages. Through advertisements, KFC has been able to promote education to the customers on the company’s products and to bring to their awareness of the same. The company has majored on advertising through TVs and posters placed on busy strategic places like bus stops (Tian & Dong, 2010, p. 99). Advertisements have seen KFC on the front line in maintaining its leadership in market shares of UK. KFC has also adopted other strategies like sales promotion, to attract more customers and increase their frequency on buying the food products. For example, a customer gets a 1-liter bottle of juice drink after buying a “bargain bucket.” Through sales promotion, a customer is pulled to the brand outlet.

To increase sales within the China market, KFC has promotional prices. In addition, the company takes part in many social events and activities. For instance, KFC donates clothing and money to those who are affected by disasters. KFC has also changed some of its icons on their advertisements to match Chinese tastes and preferences. For instance, KFC changed its original Colonel Sanders to Chikcy to reflect the desires of the Chinese children. The locals felt that Colonel Sanders was disharmonious with their culture, thus necessitating the change. This is another aspect of localization to which KFC had to adapt to in order to continue enjoying a good presence in the Chinese market.

3.0. 4 Place

Place is a significant component in the marketing mix of KFC. Customers must receive services or the products they need in a convenient place. The company, in an effort to reach its clients, has opened about 150 restaurants in China. The restaurants are located in areas where there is a high traffic (Sun & Lancaster, 2013, p. 125). KFC ensures that their restaurants are easily accessible to customers as well as tourists. The outlets are mostly near chicken suppliers. It is customary for the company to target areas near ports and expand from there. This is critical in establishing a strategic network with government and suppliers. In addition, KFC considers those areas with favorable government policies and low cost of labor in locating their restaurants in China. This strategy is similar as the one used in the UK.

In summary, KFC had to look at various issues in building its market strategies in the UK. The organization had to put into consideration that, it was moving in the market to popularize and build customer liking of food products, which are different from other non-edible market products such as clothing. The organization’s marketing strategies was to bring some effects on the company’s set goals, what they wanted to achieve as a company or organization, developments, marketing values, and general progresses. The UK’s cultural and social values in terms of feeding habit are almost similar to those of the US; hence, KFC did not face many difficulties in establishing their products in the market. In the Chinese market, however, KFC has to adapt to the local conditions because the culture is quintessentially different from the UK and the US.


            For any company or organization to survive the storms of competition in the market, it has to device mechanisms on how to use marketing strategies wisely. The set goals for any particular product in the market are met easily if the right marketing strategies and adapted. The marketing strategies of KFC in China and the UK have taken various approaches due a number of factors. The Chinese market is crowded with different products and has a different culture altogether. The Chinese people are more concerned with the type of products that they consume because they believe that food can bring harmony and closeness in relationships (Lin, 2000). In other words, the Chinese consumers are not liberalized (Kevin & Keller, 2009). When it comes to the consumers in the UK, they tend to be liberalized in nature and there are no restrictions that hinder them from consuming products of a different nature. With this in mind marketers have applied different marketing approaches to sell their products in these two countries. In China, one of the most commonly used strategies is the branding strategy. The manufacturers have to brand their products in the Chinese market to ensure that they are in line with the needs of their potential consumers. On the other hand, the strategies that are applied in the UK are mainly aimed at reducing competition and creating awareness of the availability of the products. This Chapter will look at the factors that have led KFC to adopt different marketing strategies in the two countries.

4.0. 1 Social Factors

This factor features on trends such as people’s behavior, characteristics, and projections on population growth (Bensoussan & Leiser, 2012). China is a developing third world country with a high rate of population growth with about half falling under the age below 25 years. However, the UK is a developed economy with a very low rate of population growth. A big percentage of the populace in the UK is composed of grown-ups. With such a factor in mind, KFC has employed more effort in marketing its products in China than the UK due to high prospects of capturing a market with big population and a bigger target group. KFC understands that the family is an important constituent in the buying process. In the UK, the company has designed products that appeal to the children. The understanding is that children are more predisposed to influence their parents in making a purchase.

4.0. 2 Cultural Factor

This factor made KFC to use differing approaches in the two markets. The way people live in the UK is not the same as in China. Chinese are always adamant in adapting to new foods unlike in then UK whose culture is not very diverse and can adapt easily. The feeding habits of the Chinese are different from that of the western societies and so had some problem on adopting KFC’s fried chicken (Bensoussan & Leiser, 2012). This is because Chinese are so much conservative about their culture and more concerned about their health and nutrition and so they so much questioned KFC’S fries. To win this norm KFC had to use the trick of serving the Chinese traditional foods blended with a little of fried chicken but still maintaining the taste until they slowly got used. The US (which is the mother country of KFC) culture is popular with the UK, and so KFC had no much challenges introducing their products in this market.

In going local, the company had to embrace cultural values held by the Chinese community. KFC has taken the challenge of understanding the cultural diversities and values of the Chinese market (Cheng & Chan, 2009, p. 99). The norms and cultural beliefs of the Chinese people are different from the western cultures and so there was a need to assimilate some of the cultures to fit in the market. This is different from UK since the cultures of the western world are almost similar. KFC adapted to utilizing the “Chinese cultural symbols” because a majority of the Chinese people were not happy KFC’s fries. They had to work out on how to make the customers develop the western taste mesmerized with that of China. Change of taste was to be gradual until they got accustomed to these foods. For example, KFC had to offer Chinese foods such as Beijing chicken roll served with some pieces of chicken embedded inside and with green onions accompanied with other spices.

Moreover, KFC used Chinese arts through decorations in the stores outlets designed in manner that favored the taste of the Chinese customer. A good example is in 2003 when KFC used hefty amounts in decorating flagship outlet Beijing by paintings of shadowgraph, kites, and other Chinese cultural symbols. Other symbols were such like exhibits of Chinese actors with costumes decorated with make-ups on their face and use of Chinese music from the background. All these were efforts of KFC to assimilate the Chinese traditional culture to win them in the market. KFC also used the approach of individualism and collectivism in the Chinese market, where in history the society looks at social interests and collective actions and de-emphasized on personal goals and accomplishments unlike in the western lifestyle of resentment and conformity

4.0. 3 The Economic Factor

The economic factor has contributed to KFC using different marketing strategies in the two countries. UK is a democratic country and is already developed. China is a socialist country that is still developing. The country has undergone an economic transformation where consumer goods and services are purchased (Bensoussan & Leiser, 2012). KFC has to use promotion tactics and reduce the prices of some of their products to suit the Chinese market. Most people in the UK belong to working class and do not have financial constraints. However, in China, a majority of the populace is jobless and depends on those who are working.

4.0. 4 Technology

Technology is another factor that has made KFC have a different strategy in the two countries. Technology related to information has long developed in the UK unlike in China, which is now on the verge of coping with the rest of the world in development. Marketing has since been easier in the UK than in China in terms of advertising through modern methods like the internet and Facebook. However, presently these methods are widely used in china.

4.0. 5 Competition

KFC has been facing competition from fast food organizations like McDonald and subway in the UK. However, in China it has the first mover advantages. However, KFC has to offer quality fries in the UK to survive the competition posed by McDonalds and fast food restaurants. Indeed, better marketing strategies have to be used to dominate markets in the two regions. This is through sales promotion, offering quality fries, discounts, and free samples of their products to make bulk sales and maximize profits.

4.0. 6 The Challenge of Globalization

The challenges posed by globalization are enormous and marketer must understand and critically design their strategies with globalization in mind. KFC had to face challenges in the Chinese market by addressing issues of globalization and cultural imperialism. The infiltration of the Chinese market by multinational players has instilled fear among the people of China of a cultural imperialism. Multinational are seen to be espousing Western style in the Chinese culture. This is something tat the Chinese would detest (Sun & Lancaster, 2013, p. 130). Indeed, multinational corporations are seen as imposing their values on others. KFC would have been seen as a Western-style fast food company bent on destroying the Chinese traditional lifestyle. To target the young generation would be seen as an attempt to delineate the young Chinese from their cultural roots. The Western styles accompanied by fast foods like KFC and McDonalds did not go down well with the Chinese people. Therefore, KFC had to adopt a strategy that would resonate well with the local. This has helped the company to penetrate and continue to enjoy a lead in the Chinese fast food sector.


Multinational companies have come to the realization that adaptations to local conditions as well as having innovative products are the key to success in the emerging markets. Indeed, the modification of existing products or variations in the marketing mix can be helpful in making an impact in the new markets (Kuil, 2008, p. 34). Although these tactics are successful in the short run, it is imperative that such companies develop new competencies and skills as well. These will guarantee continued presence in the foreign markets since a company will always produce those products and services that match customer needs.

From the above analysis, it is clear that KFC has not pursued the same strategy in the UK and China. As highlighted above, strategy is critical in the success of a company in the competitive market arena. For KFC to succeed it is paramount to consider the unique market situation in each country and craft strategies that will see its product resonate with customer needs and preferences. Without a well-thought approach, it would have been impossible for the company to make any significant efforts in both markets. KFC has worked on the localization strategy in the Chinese market. Localization means that the company had to understand what the locals wanted and not what the company thought was good for the market. KFC has worked on the introduction of dishes that have similar tastes to the traditional Chinese foods. Some of the foods are prepared while taking into consideration local tastes such as Beijing chicken roll and pizza hut. These chicken fried foods are made available in the local restaurants and at customers’ favorable prices. Such an approach makes the Chinese see KFC as a local firm, and not a multinational that is propagating Western culture.

Just like other organizations in the world, KFC has been successful in winning its market targets in many parts of the world with China and the UK being good examples. The organization has laid down good marketing plans for its products, which have seen it do well in both markets. It has maintained its market in terms of development and penetration coupled with development of its products to increase its market share. KFC has been at the forefront in improving and coming up with new products to attract new customers in a bid to meet the challenges in the market. The company has used the best market locations in its target markets, like Beijing in china, which is highly populated, and the centre for most businesses in the country.

KFC has also been successful because of using a good marketing mix. Indeed, the marketing mix use by KFC has adhered to the demands of the market and customers in general. Its products have always been available in the right taste to the customers. In markets like those of China, KFC made sure that the taste of their fries was in line with the Chinese traditional foods. This is a way of honoring their cultures and traditions since the revolution in consumption in China is based on several aspects such as spending for children, family rituals, and celebrations. The prices of their products have also been competitive in various markets. This boosts the sales and maximizes the company’s profits. The pricing strategy has won the customers interest in buying, since some products are sold in batches and not in single units. The constant supply chain has not let the KFC product customers down. The use of promotional methods like the colonel’s image in its advertisements on billboards, TVs and other Media has always given customers the image of a fried chicken. KFC has also been sponsoring teams like the Australian cricket team and use of other sales promotion such as premiums, exhibits, coupons, and entertainment to create peoples’ awareness to its products and the organization as a whole.

Giving discounts and use of the media to advertise KFC products has encouraged customers to be loyal to the company’s products. It is not easy to make use of all these combinations but KFC has really seen itself succeed in various markets of the world in spite of the many challenges. Overall, the localization strategy embraced by KFC in the Chinese market is a decisive move by the multinational. It shows the value of strategy in achieving organizational goals and objectives. In addition, the strategies pursued by KFC in both countries shows that markets are not homogeneous. Therefore, a multinational intending to go to China should take cognizance of the local conditions. For instance, the Chinese culture is critical in doing businesses in the country. Without appreciating and taking note of the Chinese culture is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, the success of KFC in China is lesson that can be emulated by other firms.

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