The Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain after many years of controversy has opened its first ever branch in ‘Roof of The World’, Tibet capital Lhasa on March 8, 2016 becoming the first western fast food giant to do so.
“KFC is now officially open, becoming the first international brand restaurant on the roof of the world. Everybody is welcome!” Lhasa’s city government said on Weibo on the opening day.
The KFC branch opened in Lhasa besides being the first ever KFC outlet in Tibet, it is the largest KFC branch in the world with over 500 square meters of area.
“If Yum! treats Lhasa as just another Chinese city with its eye on the Chinese and foreign tourist market, it is playing into the hands of China’s government,” said Free Tibet, London based Tibet support group said in a statement warning the KFC to work at serving the local community by providing them employment and making use of Tibetan language, instead of becoming a puppet of Beijing government.
KFC planned to open its branch back in 2004 during which they faced criticism and opposition from His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the Tibetan culture prohibited the mass slaughter of animals while at the same time, the unstable region economy hindered its plans then.
KFC opened entered the Chinese market since 1987 and has more than 5000 branches across the country. Tibet has been under Chinese invasion since 1959 and since than His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been living in exile working to regain freedom in Tibet.