Global fast food chain, Burger King, has opened its first restaurant in China - just 15 or so years later than the competition.

But the Miami, US-headquartered company, led by chairman/ceo Greg Brenneman, believes the comrades' appetite for western-style fast food is "growing exponentially", and there is still profit potential for late entrants.

Brenneman's strategy is to offer plenty of chicken on the customized menu, at prices up to 50% lower than its US backyard.

The wholly-owned first restaurant, in Shanghai, will be followed by another ten in that city and surrounding areas. Brenneman says this will allow the company to gather market information before starting franchise operations.

Burger King, with around 11,000 outlets in 65 countries, lags far behind arch-rival McDonald's in establishing a presence in the world's most populous country. The famous golden arches can be seen at 666 sites in China, and plans are afoot to raise another 400 before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Brenneman also announced that Burger King may be floated on the stock market as soon as next year, with an expected value of more than $2 billion (€1.64bn; £1.09bn). It is currently owned by private equity partners.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff