In the battle for China’s fast-food crown, KFC leverages digital to grab the advantage


Competition to capture the Chinese fast food market has been intense since KFC launched their first store here in 1987. From then on KFC has continuously battled archrival McDonald’s, and an increasing number of foreign and local fast-food brands for a share of Chinese fast-food customers.

The advantage held by either KFC and McDonald’s has ebbed and flowed according to key events and largely by their respective marketing efforts. For example, KFC’s chicken-centric proposition gave them an initial advantage with Chinese consumers experimenting with Western fast-food. However concerns regarding chicken flu at various times swung the advantage back to McDonald’s.

KFC followers

KFC has more overall followers than the competition, and those followers tend to be more active.

Overall marketing initiatives by the two brands have created the greatest effect on local consumers. For example, McDonald’s leveraged their sponsorship of the Olympics Games to engage Chinese fans while KFC became famous for their nationwide community five-a-side basketball competition.


KFC has less posts, but its posts are much more engaging than the competition.

Today the new battleground is digital. Resonance’s latest insight report reveals how KFC has grabbed an advantage over their old adversary through creative engagement with Chinese youth. By presenting the brand and new menu offers in the context of trending topics and opinion leaders, KFC achieved a new level of relevance with China’s most fickle demographic. Alongside creative and fun content timed during Chinese and Western holidays, the fast-food brand also developed a robust mobile ecosystem convenient for on-the-go urban youth. Also by making the mobile platform interactive KFC was able to achieve higher loyalty amongst a group that do not give it easily.

Click here to check out Resonance’s KFC Insight Report. Become a member to gain access to this report and all previous reports on our China Social Branding Report database.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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