Fastfood operator Yum! Brands Inc, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut outlets, has opened its largest distribution in China in Shanghai, reports the China Daily.


China is the only country where the company has built its own distribution centres to handle logistics, the paper said. It outsources the business in all of its other overseas markets.


“We desire to grow in so many places in China but the capability doesn’t really exist in China to provide the services we need,” said Todd Nelson, Yum! Logistics China general manager.


He said with the new logistic centre, the company could grow with the pace of its restaurant expansion. Yum!, China’s biggest restaurant chain operator with more than 1,700 KFC and Pizza Hut outlets at present, has maintained a pace of opening about 300 new stores per year over the last few years.


The new centre in the western Taopu area of Shanghai has an annual distribution capacity of over 5 million boxes. It will serve Shanghai and the neighbouring cities for the next 10 years, according to Nelson.


The company plans to build or upgrade distribution centres in five more locations in Guangzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan, among others, in the coming 18 months.


It estimates its 16 distribution centres across the country at present will handle more than 30 million boxes of supplies in total next year and grow by 20% annually in future.


The company has stopped buying poultry from suppliers in bird-flu hit areas, according to Yum! spokeswoman Wang Qun.