Our readers tend to have simple tastes, so it comes as no surprise that last week they voted for McDonald’s to bring an IPO to Hong Kong.
In our web poll, we asked which international company might seek an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange: GE, McDonald’s, PepsiCo or Walmart. Slightly less than half the respondents said McDonald’s, even though it’s the only one among the four that hasn’t been rumoured to be interested in a listing in Hong Kong.
Even so, more international companies are looking to Hong Kong as a listing venue these days, as we wrote last week.
If the fast food chain from Oak Brook, Illinois, ever does decide to list overseas, Hong Kong would likely be a good choice. McDonald's hamburgers have been on sale in Hong Kong since 1975, just 20 years after the company opened in the US, and are now ubiquitous throughout the territory.
Indeed, the city is so densely packed with the company’s burger outlets – more than five per square kilometre – that there is even a McDonald’s Hamburger University, Hong Kong, which was opened in 2002. In all, the company has more than 200 restaurants in the city and 10,000 staff. And, unlike its operations in developed nations, McDonald’s owns most of its restaurants in Hong Kong and China directly.
The Hong Kong business was founded by engineer-turned-entrepreneur Daniel Ng, who showed just as much flair as the original McDonald’s founders. He cannily chose to emphasise the brand’s ‘foreign-ness’ and not to compete with local restaurants, unlike Kentucky Fried Chicken, which initially entered Hong Kong with a Chinese name that translated as “Hometown Chicken”. Local youths didn’t think much of that, but they flocked to the golden arches.
Hongkongers have embraced McDonald’s so much, in fact, that the city is the first in the world to offer wedding packages, starting this year. McDonald’s Hong Kong spokeswoman, Helen Cheung, told the South China Morning Post that the idea originated from reverse inquiries: So many people were asking to have their weddings under the golden arches – what better matrimonial symbol? – that they decided it was a no-brainer. Packages are a very affordable HK$2,000 to HK$3,000 ($150 to $230), though the restaurant is still open to the public, so not quite as exclusive as a reception at the Four Seasons.
Overall, 44% of the respondents to our web poll were hungry for McDonald’s, while 25% opted for Walmart, 17% picked GE and just 14% were thirsty for PepsiCo.