Fast-food giant McDonald's is selling a controlling stake in its mainland China and Hong Kong business, a deal worth more than $2 billion. The companies involved in the transaction announced the sale Monday.
Chinese state-owned Citic and Citic Capital will acquire 52 percent of the business, while The Carlyle Group, a U.S.-based private equity firm will own 28 percent, leaving McDonald's with a 20 percent interest.
McDonald's said in a statement the formation of the partnership and company will act as the master franchisee responsible for McDonald's business in China and Hong Kong for 20 years.
McDonald's says the partnership will use its "combined expertise and resources" to accelerate growth in new restaurant openings and improve sales performance in existing restaurants. The company says it intends to add over 1,500 restaurants in China and Hong Kong over the next five years.
China, McDonald's says, has a working population that is larger than the U.S. and Europe combined, but China's middle-class spending level is "a small fraction of those in more developed countries." As disposable incomes rise, however, people in the region are expected to "spend more on leisure and dining out."
At the end of 2016, McDonald's had more than 2,400 restaurants in mainland China, employing over 120,000 staff and serving more than one billion customers annually. The fast food giant has more than 240 restaurants in Hong Kong.
McDonald's has more than 36,000 locations worldwide.