2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies
Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China in Hong Kong on March 21, 2019.
Anthony Kwan—Bloomberg/Getty Images
April 22, 2021 3:25 PM EDT

It’s a little bit ironic that the most American of all industries, fast food, is being revolutionized by a Chinese company. Under the leadership of CEO Joey Wat, Yum China operates more than 10,000 restaurants in 1,400 cities in China and has revenues of over $8 billion. As restaurants around the world scrambled to set up contactless payments and home-delivery networks to serve germophobic customers, Yum’s previous investments in digital infrastructure paid off: digital orders accounted for 83% of Yum’s KFC and Pizza Hut sales in the most recent quarter, a 22% increase. Yum China is also known for setting the pace in new-product innovation: it experiments with hundreds of new food offerings a year, such as salted-egg-yolk rice rolls and sweet pumpkin congee, with best sellers added to menus.

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