, China

Yum China bolsters digital capabilities with new research center

The centre will consolidate and expand resources to develop new solutions and services using technologies in big data, AI, and others.

Yum China announced the launch of a digital research and development centre, aimed to significantly strengthen its internal digital capabilities and support sustainable business growth.

The Digital R&D Center consists of three sites in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Xi'an, and is part of the operator’s strategy to build a “dynamic digital ecosystem” along with joint venturing and third party collaboration.

The centre will consolidate and expand dedicated resources to develop new solutions and services using technologies in big data, artificial intelligence (AI), middle office and digital SaaS to drive end-to-end digitalization, Yum China added.

It is also expected to bolster the company’s in-house consumer-facing programmes, digital tools used in store operations, supply chain management, and optimize delivery order queuing, trade zones, and rider routing.

"Digitalization is one of the key enablers behind Yum China's resiliency and long-term development as we move toward our next milestone of 20,000 stores," Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China, said in a media release. "The Digital R&D Center is an important part of our investment strategy as we apply cutting-edge technologies to digitally transform stores and drive operational excellence."

"Evolving consumer behavior, such as increased off-premise dining, and the Company's accelerated development, place more demand on our R&D capabilities," added Leila Zhang, the company’s chief technology officer.

Yum China earmarked US$1-1.5 billion of investment over the next five years in digital and technology. The company plans to invest approximately $100-200 million and to employ up to 500 staff in the Digital R&D Center.

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