HanGook McDonald’s Co, the South Korean unit of McDonald’s, is planning to increase its store count to 500 in the country by the end of this decade, the Korea Economic Daily reported.

According to its 2022 filing with the nation’s financial regulator, HanGook McDonald’s managed 399 locations in the country.

HanGook McDonald’s CEO Kim Kiwon was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We will accelerate the opening of new restaurants to ramp up customer contact points. Higher sales and investments are more essential than immediate profitability.

“We need to cut investments in products and services for a turnaround in the near term, but that is not a long-term goal of McDonald’s. We must maintain growth by increasing stores.

“Value for money is important to McDonald’s, but we need a proper strategy for markets with rapid changes such as South Korea.”

According to the news agency, in addition to increasing the store count by 25%, McDonald’s South Korean unit is reportedly seeking to sell its business in the country to a strategic partner.

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Kiwon added: “The sale is not only for profits. We are looking for a strategic partner for the growth and development of HanGook McDonald’s.”

Last June, McDonald’s reportedly planned to sell its entire stake in its South Korean business and its business licence.

The planned divesture is said to be due to rising operating costs along with increasing competition in the region.