For a country that's becoming such an ever-growing part of the international imagination, China still remains very foreign in the minds of most outsiders. While we all assume that many Chinese people in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing are rapidly Westernizing and embracing American brands and products, it is often difficult to gauge the extent of this adaptation. But according to one article, McDonald's 'modernizing and democratizing' China.
Forbes is one of the best magazines for business commentary and analysis so their recent article entitled 'Apple and McDonald's Modernize and Democratize China' really made me sit up and take notice. I read the article was impressed. But it must be said, when author Peter Mourdoukoutas refers to changes that McDonald's is ushering into Chinese civic life, he could also be referring to the many American franchises who've made a dent in Chinese commerce, like YUM! Brands. McDonald's is just the best-known franchise.
McDonald’s Corporation has been bringing China its franchise model that combines and compromises centralization with decentralization, and individual property with collective property, allowing its members to share the risks and rewards from the discovery and exploitation of new business opportunities—something missing from the country’s old collectives and communes."
Again the power Mourdoukoutas is identifying is not just restricted to McDonald's. Essentially it is the franchise model - one of the bedrock's of the American economy - that is shattering the mold in China, enshrining personal and political freedom via business ownership.
It's just another example of franchises changing the world.