NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Yum! Brands (YUM) officially completed the spin off of its China business on Tuesday, as Yum! China began trading on the New York Stock Exchange this morning under the ticker YUMC. Yum! China will have 7,300 restaurants, in 1,100 Chinese cities, spanning every province in China.
Yum! China CEO Micky Pant discussed the Chinese business during Tuesday morning's "Squawk on the Street" on CNBC.
"Yum has been in China for nearly 30 years, so there's been a lot of experience in this market. The way we look at it the moment is we have about five stores for every one million of the population," Pant noted.
That is under penetrated, in his view, Pant believes that Yum! China has the potential to triple the number of stores and in the long-term boast more locations than in the U.S.
Pant also commented on past challenges the Chinese business has faced.
"We have had challenges along the journey but if you look at every five-year snapshot the company just keeps growing. There have definitely been bumps along the journey, but we see the opportunities far out-weighing the risks of being in China," Pant said.
Additionally, the Chinese consumer is "alive and well," he added. "We believe there is business to be had, and that said fast food actually does fine in an economically difficult situation."
The opportunity to build and grow same-store-sales is vital to the Yum! China, Pant noted.