American fast food chain playing catchup in Yangon

wasting time in myanmar, unproductive meetings, wrong prospects. business partner search service

Picture of Yakun first store in Yangon at entrance of Parkson Department Store along Bogyoke Aung Sang Road

Yakun store still being fitted out on 17 May as we passed by Parkson during lunch time. Store to open in 1st week of June 2013

The first Ya Kun store will be slated to open in the 1st week of June 2013 at the front of the new Parkson Department Store along the strategic Bogyoke Aung Sang Road.

As the new Parkson Department Store is next to the historic Bogyoke Aung San Market – which is a must visit for all tourists coming to Yangon it is a coup for the Singapore brand.

In most Asian countries such strategic retail locations are occupied by big American brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s or KFC but due to remaining US sanctions on many Burmese tycoons – American fast food companies are entering the Myanmar market cautiously.

One American executive described the process of them finding a suitable business partner in Myanmar like that of an obedient son following the strict father’s instruction of finding a bride that is virtuous, educated, has all the good qualities of the mother and has never committed a sin before.

image of ICFC Fried Chicken and Hamburger store at Junction Maw Tin, Lanmadaw Township, Yangon

ICFC Fried Chicken and Hamburger store at Junction Maw Tin, Lanmadaw Township, Yangon

One of our readers reported a KFC knockoff called ICFC with a logo design that makes the first 2 letter “IC” looked like a K (see picture).

The challenge for KFC’s franchisee in Yangon is that ICFC opened its store in Yangon first and under Myanmar law they have the right to use that trademark. So technically when KFC open their first store in Yangon later this year ICFC can place an injunction on KFC’s franchisee to stop infringing on its trademark.

It is quite a new experience for big American fast food chain to play catch up and second fiddle in an emerging market. Maybe this is something that President Obama may talk to President Thein Sein about next Monday when President Thein Sein visit the White House – how to protect the US brands in Myanmar given the poor state of trademark protection in Myanmar and the late entry of US brands into the Myanmar market.

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You may want to learn more about the challenge facing fast food brands entering Myanmar at Myanmar smells fast food success as KFC open in Yangon. & Is Food Delivery Business Viable in Yangon?

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