Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Thailand-based global conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group is pursuing its aim to be the kitchen of the world, with an agreement to form a 50:50 joint venture with Japanese food-chain operator Yoshinoya in China.
In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman of the agricultural-industrial conglomerate CP Group, said the two partners would operate beef-bowl restaurants in China, first in coastal cities and in the north.
They will later expand into the interior of the country, he added.
Yoshinoya is the largest chain of beef-bowl restaurants and one of the Japanese fast-food chains. Outside Japan, it operates restaurants in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the United States, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Dhanin told the TV channel that this was another step for CP Group to make inroads into the food business in China.
A source in CP Group said the joint-venture agreement was just signed a few days ago, after two months of discussion.
Dhanin revealed the investment right after his speech to about 400 global chief executives gathering at the 12th Forbes Global CEO Conference in Dubai on Monday and Tuesday.
In a panel discussion titled "Enlarging the Winner's Circle", Dhanin, who is Forbes Asia's "2011 Businessman of the Year", presented his view on how Asian economies should play a bigger role in world trade as power shifts from the West to the East.
"I'm confident in the power of Asia, which will play a more significant role in the world's trade," he said.
"The Western economies are in recession and have about 1 billion [people]. This paves the way for Asia, which has a higher population, more than 3 billion altogether, to play a significant role in the rehabilitation of the world's economy. I believe that finally, the Asian economy will be at the centre of the world's trade."
Dhanin said he was also confident in the high capability of the young leaders of China who would step forward to manage the country.
However, he suggested that these leaders issue policies to encourage domestic consumption and raise the prices of agricultural products. They had to bring about a good balance for international trade and to support and promote small and medium-size enterprises run by private firms, which are the grass roots for sustainable development.