By Max Clarke

Profits at the fast food giant, Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) have surged 11%, driven by rising sales of KFC in China.

The world’s largest fast-food corporation, and parent company to Pizza Hut and KFC saw sales across China jump 25%, negating declining profits in the company’s domestic, North American market.

“Our China business continues to be the leading growth story in the restaurant industry, as our category-leading brands are performing stronger than ever,” said the group’s CEO and Chairman, David C. Novak. “Operating profit grew 25% in China, prior to foreign currency translation, as same-store sales grew an impressive 18%. We surpassed 4,000 restaurants in China this quarter and our new unit returns remain excellent.

Yum! are the latest in a series of western companies to see profits boosted by growing appetites for consumables among China’s burgeoning, 300 million strong middle class.

Burberry recently posted profits in excess of £250 million owing to strong performance in China, whilst a host of smaller businesses from the UK are increasingly turning to the world's 2nd biggest economy.

“Yum! Restaurants International (YRI) operating profit increased 11%, led by outstanding performance in high-growth emerging markets, where system sales grew 11%, both prior to foreign currency translation. Our development pipeline is robust, and we remain on track to open 1,400 new units outside the U.S. this year. We are confident new unit development will continue to be a key factor in our ability to drive future sales and profit growth.”

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