Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dempster

Second Advisor

Jay Gonzalez


Over the years, American food has become more and more popular in China. Today, the Chinese are more open to trying new cuisines. To fully understand the forces that have catalyzed the growing presence of American foods in China, my research project demonstrates the complex web of factors that shape how American food businesses’ presence in China has changed over the last decade. Examining a diversity of sources, including existing trend data, my analysis focuses on the domestic and global factors that have facilitated the growing presence of American food restaurants in China. Using this research as a jumping off point, I argue that this increased presence is an indicator of changes in Chinese food culture in response to new economic developments and global trends taking shape. This project asserts that three main factors are responsible for this food phenomenon: globalization, urbanization, and localization. First off, globalization and China’s economic downturn have affected China’s food culture and encouraged the growth of American food businesses in China. Second, urbanization and China’s shifting food culture have been driving forces in the marketing plans for these businesses. Third, the businesses which utilize effective localization strategies have the best chances of success. In turn, culturally appropriate marketing strategies and implementation are the key measures of success or failure for these businesses. The elements for the successful opening of a business include cultural sensitivity, appropriate products, proper location, and an efficient supply chain. By developing this detailed, comprehensive understanding, American businesses can increase their likelihood of sustainability and profitability in China. Moreover, this analysis will inform my own plans, as an entrepreneur, when I open one and serve as a guide for others who wish to do so.