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Jollibee eyes global expansion to rival KFC

Philippines-based fast-food chain Jollibee Foods Corp. will expand in the U.S., U.K. and China as it seeks to become a global brand and compete with YUM! Brands Inc.-owned KFC, the Financial Times (London) reported Oct. 8, citing Ernesto Tanmantiong, chief executive of Jollibee.

The company is planning to open 25 restaurants in the U.K. over the next five years, the report said.

If the first 25 stores prove successful, "I am sure there are more opportunities for us to grow in the U.K.," Tanmantiong added.

Jollibee is looking to cater to the large diaspora population of Philippine workers, which it estimates to be about 300,000 in the U.K. alone, and cross over to non-Filipino customers. "That's the vision of Jollibee — to make it a global brand," Tanmantiong said.

The company, which has 41 stores in North America, and one each in Hong Kong and Macau, also intends to open more outlets in Italy, Guam and Spain by 2020.

In September, Jollibee invested $12.4 million to acquire a 47% stake in Tortas Frontera LLC to enter the $45 billion Mexican restaurant market in the U.S.