TIME

LeBron James Is Lovin’ McDonald’s — in China

Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat
LeBron James during a game at American Airlines Arena in Miami, March 12, 2014. Mike Ehrmann—Getty Images

The Miami Heat forward is taking center court in McDonald's plan to retool its strategy in the world's second-largest economy, where burgers have lost sales to noodles

China, meet McDonald’s new cultural emissary. LeBron James, meet China.

The fast food empire will feature the NBA star in its China-focused commercials later this year, using LeBron as a gambit to boost its sales by satisfying the Chinese love of American basketball.

McDonald’s new ad move is part of drive to lure more Chinese sales, the Wall Street Journal reports, where the company is redoing its China-based stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and overhauling its advertising campaign.

The moves come even as growth in China appears to be slowing, with overall economic growth in the country at 7.4% in the first quarter, its lowest level in 18 months.

Last year, China’s sales slowed 3.6% compared with 2012, as many of McDonald’s customers in China eat at cheaper local restaurants and noodle joints instead.

[WSJ]

 

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