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Popeyes re-enters China with TH International

Tim Hortons China’s exclusive operator, TH International (Tims China), is to relaunch the fried chicken chain Popeyes in China and Macau through the acquisition of exclusive rights to develop and sub-franchise the brand. 

The transaction, which the company expected to bring significant cash to Tims China and strengthen the company’s balance sheet, is subject to customary closing conditions. 

Popeyes entered China in 2020 under the partnership with Tab Foods Investments with an ambition to open 1500 locations across China in 10 years. However, the chain faltered after opening just nine stores, due to the prolonged impact of Covid-19 in the country. 

Peter Yu, chairman of Tims China, said the company plans to expand its store network of Tim Hortons and Popeyes stores in China to 1000 by the end of the year. 

“The two brands are a natural fit, with complementary product offerings and exceptional growth potential,” said Yongchen Lu, CEO of Tims China. “Both brands will benefit from greater scale, a stronger financial model, and synergies, including in the supply chain and new restaurant development.”

TH International Limited was founded by Cartesian Capital Group and Tim Hortons Restaurants International, a subsidiary of Canadian-headquartered Restaurant Brands International which owns the Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons brands. 

Last August, the US fried chicken retailer appointed Cartesian Capital Group as its partner for the relaunch of the Popeyes brand in China. The chain has also relaunched in South Korea under a partnership with local operator Silla Co, two years after closing its business there.

Popeyes has more than 3900 stores globally. 

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