LOUISVILLE, Kentucky: International pizza chain Papa Johns plans to open over 1,350 stores in South China by 2040, in partnership with Asian private equity firm FountainVest Partners.
The deal, the largest franchisee development agreement in its history, will increase Papa Johns' current global store count by 25 percent.
Other pizza companies have also been expanding in the region, where they see an opportunity for greater sales.
Pizza Hut opened 103 new stores in China in the third quarter of 2021.
"With each passing quarter, we become even more confident about the long-term growth potential for the Domino's brand in China," said Domino's CEO Ritch Allison, speaking in October, as quoted by CNN.
In the third quarter of 2021, Chinese pizza stores that had been open at least one year grew sales by double-digits, considerably better than in the U.S. where sales fell, he added.
China is a fertile ground for growth for his company, noted Papa Johns CEO Rob Lynch last year, adding that Papa Johns has a "huge development opportunity in markets where we already compete, but are much less penetrated."
Papa Johns has also been expanding into other regions. In November, the company announced plans to open 60 restaurants in Kenya and Uganda, along with franchise partner Kitchen Express.
Over the summer of 2021 Papa Johns expanded its partnership with its largest franchise, Drake Food Service International, with plans to open 220 restaurants globally, including in the UK and Latin America by 2025.
In a statement, Lynch said the "partnership with FountainVest marks another major milestone in achieving Papa Johns global growth potential."
The move follows last year's rebranding of the company.