McDonald’s has struck a deal to place restaurants in Evergrande’s residential complexes in China. The arrangement helps solve two problems for both parties: it will provide space for the fast food chain to expand, facilitating its goal to almost double its number of outlets in China within five years and, in particular, giving it access to the untapped markets of the country’s smaller cities, the Financial Times reports. For Evergrande, China’s second-largest and most indebted developer, the arrangement is an opportunity to lease out storefront properties, of which it has excess supply. “The presumption is they’re going to fill up some of the empty properties with McDonald’s,” said Nigel Stevenson, an analyst at Hong Kong’s GMT Research. Stevenson’s firm said it had visited 40 Evergrande developments and found that much of the space that had been labelled as “investment properties” in the company’s accounts – and therefore valued higher than residences – was instead empty shops or unused parking lots.
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