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Yum China announces expansion and enhanced stockholder returns in 2023 annual letter

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Yum China reports a strong 2023, plans major expansion, and commits to increased stockholder returns, emphasizing innovation and operational excellence for future growth.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – Joey Wat, Chief Executive Officer of Yum China Holdings, Inc. released her annual letter to stockholders together with the Company’s 2023 Annual Report. The letter recapped Yum China’s strong 2023 results, the Company’s enduring commitment to stockholder return, as well as its pioneering innovation capabilities and ambitious plans for continued expansion.

2023 was a landmark year for Yum China, one of our strongest ever. Transitioning out of the pandemic, we were able not only to seize opportunities amid China’s reopening, but also adapt quickly to the year’s challenges and sustain strong momentum,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. “My deepest gratitude goes to our 430,000 employees: they are the backbone of our business, and it is their hard work and dedication that powers the agility and innovation that allow us to succeed, no matter the market conditions. We also want to thank our long-term stockholders who have stood by us along the way.”

Returning to stockholders and enhancing the return on capital invested will continue to be on top of the Company’s agenda. Yum China returned a record $833 million to investors through dividends and share repurchases in 2023, representing 75% of annual operating profit. Yum China intends to step up the pace of returns going forward, planning dividends and share repurchases of at least $3 billion from 2024 to 2026, with $1.5 billion planned for 2024.

Growth opportunities in China continue to be incredibly exciting, with China expected to continue to be the largest single contributor to global economic growth in 2024. Operating in over 2,000 cities across China, Yum China currently serves approximately one-third of China’s population. The Company is targeting 20,000 stores nationwide by 2026, which will extend its reach to roughly 700 million people, still just around half of the country’s population.

The China market will offer us ample white space for the foreseeable future,” Wat said. “On top of the opportunity to serve more people is a favorable mix change, as Chinese consumers in lower-tier cities gradually upgrade their consumption. As the largest restaurant company in China, we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this trend. In fact, over half of our new stores have been in lower-tier cities in recent years. A good share of our future growth should come from the growing pool of consumers in such markets.”

Wat added, “Our core brands are deeply rooted in China and are beloved by millions of consumers. But we can never rest on our laurels. We’ve worked hard over the past decades to develop industry-leading operational capabilities, outstanding customer care, and a world-class supply chain – all backed by advanced technology. The breadth and depth of these capabilities set us apart and undergird our sustained success. As we look to the future, we remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence and innovation, and unwavering in our commitment to achieving our growth targets and generating long-term sustainable value for our stockholders.”

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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