Taco Bell in Shanghai, China - Yum! Brands
Yum! plans to open its first Taco Bell restaurant in Shanghai, China, at the end of the year.

NEW YORK – Yum! Brands, Inc. plans to open its first Taco Bell restaurant in Shanghai, China, at the end of the year. This expansion will not affect the company’s plans to spin off its China business around the same time, said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer of Taco Bell, during the J.P. Morgan Gaming, Lodging Restaurant & Leisure Management forum held March 10-11 in Las Vegas. The company already operates about 7,000 KFC and Pizza Hut chains in China.

During the forum, Mr. Niccol said Taco Bell’s strong fundamentals have driven growth at the Mexican food chain. The company’s model of innovating and then spending on marketing, technology and buildings works, he said.

Brian Niccol, Taco Bell
Brian Niccol, c.e.o. of Taco Bell

“…And what I can tell you is the China spin-off doesn't change any of that for me at Taco Bell,” Mr. Niccol said. “That is still the same expectation of my team, and it is still, I think, the same expectation Yum! has of our team at Taco Bell.

“So the positive, I think, is going forward you're going to have three global brands,” he said. “I have two peers at other brands that I can call on to help with international expansion in every market, whether that's China or whether that is the U.K.”

After the company spins off its China business, Yum! China will become a franchisee of Yum! Brands in mainland China. The Shanghai-based business will have exclusive rights to KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.