US fastfood giant McDonald’s has signed a deal taking its sponsorship of the Olympic games to 2012, and said it would expand its operations in China ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

McDonald’s said it plans to increase its number of restaurants in China to 1,000 from the 580 outlets it currently operates there, reported Reuters. The company aims to complete this stage of expansion by 2008, when the Olympics are to be held in Beijing.

“That’s just a start for us,” McDonald’s chief executive Jim Cantalupo was quoted by Reuters as saying. “Any company that’s in a global business has to pay attention to China.”

McDonald’s said its Olympic sponsorship deal gave it sole marketing rights as branded food supplier at the Olympic events through to 2012.