Despite the global economic slowdown, U.S.-based Baskin-Robbins, one of the world's largest ice cream chains, has announced plans to open 20 new stores in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an.
Compared with its former expansion plan, which said it would open 100 new stores in China in the next ten years, this new plan for 2009 accelerates Baskin-Robbins' expansion in China. Srinivas Kumar, the chief brand officer for Baskin-Robbins Worldwide, told local media while visiting Shanghai that the company's new expansion plan will equal or exceed its former long-term plan and this year the company will open 15 new stores in Shanghai and Xi'an — in addition to opening five new stores in Beijing.
Kumar said although Baskin-Robbins is relatively new in the Chinese market, China is certain to be one of the most important marketplaces for the company. He said that Baskin-Robbins' expansion in China will start with traditional small stores and if the operation is satisfactory, the company will launch large scale cafe-style stores; if the situation is not good, the company will maintain its expansion in China, but will shift to the small scale express model.
To date, Baskin-Robbins has 40 stores in northern China and three in Shanghai, all of which were opened earlier this year.