Mr. Pizza Korea (MPK) Group will make inroads into India by establishing a joint venture with an Indian food firm to capitalize on the growing number of middle-class consumers there, the company said Tuesday.
Korea’s largest home-grown pizza franchise plans to nurture India into one of its two strategic markets, along with China, using the world’s second-most populous country as a springboard to become a major global pizza brand.
MPK Group Chairman Jung Woo-hyun signed an agreement with his Indian counterpart P. K. Gupta, chairman of Cafe Buddy’s Foods, to set up a joint entity in the South Asian country. MPK will hold a 49 percent stake in the joint company and Cafe Buddy’s the remaining 51 percent.
Both agreed to mobilize all available resources to foster Mr. Pizza as a leading pizza brand in India, opening its first store in New Delhi in the first half of 2017. By 2020, the joint venture will operate at least 100 outlets, according to MPK.
“MPK has been able to expand at a rapid pace in China on the back of its high-quality pizzas and customer-oriented services. I have no doubt that we can write another success story in India,” Jung said. “India will play as one of two pillars of Mr. Pizza’s global expansion. We will also use the South Asian nation as a base to enter the Middle East.”
Chung said India offers a lucrative business opportunity for MPK as most of its 1.3 billion people reside in cities, which makes it easier for franchised stores to do business. Dominos, Pizza Hut and other global pizza chains have already established a presence in India, according the chairman, who said it will be less costly for Mr. Pizza to expand by not repeating the mistakes of forerunners.
In China, MPK plans to add 50 new stores next year, increasing the number of its stores in the world’s fastest-growing economy to 200. The company will also open more stores in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries to make up for its declining domestic sales.