Hoping to prove that frying oil and gasoline can be the best of buds in the world's most populous nation, China Petroleum & Chemical
With more than 1.3 billion residents, China isn't new to the Mickey D's expansion strategy. The company has already opened hundreds of locations there. The deal with China's leading refiner, more commonly known as Sinopec, will help speed up the process.
Beijing-based Sinopec fuels up at over 30,000 gasoline stations in China. Though the deal with the world's leading fast food chain is unlikely to tack on drive-throughs at all of those outlets, it will probably still be the catalyst for the burger giant to grow into the thousands in the coming years -- up from the roughly 760 locations there today.
Watching drive-through windows spring out of gasoline stations is a sight that grows on you over time. I remember the first time that I saw a McDonald's attached to an Amoco. It didn't seem like the most savory of temptations; the gas fumes weren't all that conducive to grub-grabbing. A lot has changed since then, and now the only gas stations that stand out like sore thumbs are the ones that don't have a sandwich shop or some other type of franchised eatery inside.
China is still warming up to both gas stations and fast food restaurants, so the convergence may be even easier there. With a booming economy that has grown at a 10% clip over the past three years, citizens have been trading in their bicycles for automobiles and embracing the luxury of eating out.
China itself is a promising market for investors. ShandaInteractive
If McDonald's has any say in all of this, China will be happier than a Happy Meal and a full tank of gas.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China's high-margin gaming stocks for a long time, and he recommended NetEase.com last year to Rule Breakers subscribers. Burgers in China? Why not? The Fool has adisclosure policy.