JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. would build upon its existing brands in China, the biggest of which is its Yonghe King quick service restaurants (QSR).

JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. plans to open about 150 new stores in China as it further expands its international operations in the country, the company’s finance chief said on Wednesday.

“Our strategy starting from this year is to elevate [our] base through significant store openings,” Jollibee Chief Financial Officer Richard Chong Woo Shin said during a virtual press briefing. “We are looking at around 100 to 150 new stores in China for this calendar year.”

Mr. Shin said the company would build upon its existing brands in China, the biggest of which is its Yonghe King quick service restaurants (QSR).

“We’ve now more or less covered all the tier-one cities and it’s a combination of company-owned stores with a sprinkle of franchised stores,” he added.

The company will now focus on neighboring tier-two cities in China by using capital-light franchising options to expand its store network.

“QSR is a significantly important segment in China, and we believe that our three brands have upside mobility and gain,” he said.

Aside from Yonghe King, the company’s two other brands in China are Tim Ho Wan, and Hong Zhuang Yuan.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shin said that the company will build on the “premiumness” of the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan casual dining brand.

“We are not looking at a large footprint expansion but rather building off of the 18 stores that we have, and we’ll be adding five new stores this year,”

It will focus its Tim Ho Wan operations by going to key geographic cities where the company could take on “above QSR levels.”

During the first quarter, Jollibee grew its network to 505 stores in China, opening about 21 stores during the three-month period.

In the first three months of this year, the company recorded a nearly 11% decrease in attributable net income to P2.06 billion from P2.31 billion in the previous year despite strong revenue growth.

Its consolidated revenues for the quarter grew by 28.5% to P55.09 billion from the P42.86 billion recorded in the same quarter last year.

System-wide sales — which measure all sales to consumers, both from company-owned and franchised stores — rose by 31.1% to P78.64 billion from P59.98 billion.

For the Philippines, system-wide sales increased by 36.7% while same-store sales went up by 31.6%. Outside the country, system-wide sales jumped by 23.3%, while same-store sales rose by 8.8%.

As of end-March, the company has operated 6,542 stores worldwide with 3,281 in the Philippines and 3,261 in its international business.

Jollibee shares went up by 1.42% or P3.20 to close at P229.20 per share on Wednesday. — Adrian H. Halili