If your company offers a multilingual Web site (or plans to offer one), I encourage you to take a moment to complete our landmark Web globalization survey. You can participate by clicking here.
In return for your valuable time, you will receive a free executive summary of the survey. You will also be entered in a drawing in wich we will give away three copies of our popular 2005 Web Globalization Report Card.
If you are a translation agency, please tell your clients, as we are also conducting a study of vendor awareness among all those who take the survey.
While McDonald’s has operated in China for some time now, Burger King now appears close to opening its first branch in the country — in Shanghai. BK has high hopes for the country, as do other fast food chains.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Wendy’s is scouting out locations and Hormel Foods is looking at opening hot dog stands.
But the article notes that not all restaurants have thrived in China. Schlotzsky’s Deli withdrew from the market and McDonald’s recently cited “weakness” and put in a new management team. And then there is pricing. BK is charging 40% to 50% less than what it charges in the US.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that any multinational fast food chain has little choice but invest in China. BK has 7,956 locations now operating in the US, so there’s not much room left to grow. China, despite the risks, despite the low margins, despite the inevitable cultural missteps, is where the action is.
What about the BK China Web site?
While McDonald’s offers a China Web site, Burger King does not. It’s early yet of course, but BK does not have the best track record in Web globalization. If you visit the corporate site you’ll be hard-pressed to find links to the country sites. As best as I can tell, many countries that BK does business in do not have localized Web sites.
To complicate matters, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia.
Apple’s globalization of iTunes appears to be moving right along. According to the press release:
“iTunes Music Stores were launched in the UK, France and Germany in June 2004, and now operate in 17 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The European iTunes Music Stores have catalogs of over one million songs each, and feature content from all major music companies and over 1,000 independent record labels.”
Now we wait for Apple to tackle Asia. Sites for Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are expected this year.