McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken got a pat on the back Saturday from an unlikely source - China's Communist Party.
The party newspaper, the People's Daily, praised the U.S. fast food chains for bringing in much-needed foreign capital to help develop China's service sector."Kentucky Fried Chicken is here, Pizza Hut is here, McDonald's is here," the paper said in the opening lines of its editorial. The investment "has a positive effect on speeding the development of our nation's service industry."
The People's Daily, long a voice for China's hard-liners, in recent weeks has adopted a more liberal tone in keeping with the reform drive that senior leader Deng Xiaoping began early this year.
The editorial came two months after McDonald's opened its first outlet in Beijing, just down the road from Tianamen Square, where Chinese troops crushed the budding pro-democracy movement in 1989.
Kentucky Fried Chicken was the first to break into China's fast food market five years ago, opening its largest restaurant just off Tiananmen Square. It now has four outlets in Beijing, and Pizza Hut has two.