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May 27, 2017

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McDonald's Taiwan in final stage of transfer to local owner: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- McDonald's Taiwan is in the final steps of transferring its operation to a local managing team, Taiwan media reported on Monday.

Ambassador Hotel boss Hubert Lee is slated to close in the deal for McDonald's Taiwan operations, media reported.

Meanwhile, netizens in Taiwan have already begun speculating on what a more local direction for the fast-food giant might look like.

Some have even dreamed up quintessential Taiwanese fare such as a stinky-tofu double-beef burger.

Nearly There

Lee is said to be on the brink of completing a US$300 million acquisition, with the deal set to be finalized once the Fair Trade Commission and the Investment Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs approve an authorization contract with McDonald's parent company in the United States. This authorization is one of the two contracts required for the acquisition to be completed, according to local media. The other is the purchase and sales agreement, which was finalized before the Lunar New Year holiday.

A Burger Lover

Lee has previous experience in the burger business.

Prior to closing down last year, Lee's Burger Fix restaurant had offered fresh handmade burgers made with locally sourced ingredients.

Market experts predicted that a McDonald's under Lee's ownership would launch a range of new flavors with Taiwanese elements, with an emphasis on food sanitation and safety.

Lee's Burger Fix restaurants — known for freshly prepared patties made from imported U.S. beef and home-baked bread — had cultivated a loyal following.

The chain had closed its doors last September, as McDonald's forbids its franchise owners from running a competitor business.

Taiwanese-Style Fast-Food Revolution?

Netizens have made outlandish suggestions on social media, guessing what striking new flavors could be ushered in to spice up McDonald's menu.

Some netizens imagined the addition of stinky-tofu double-beef burgers, with night market delicacies as sides, including black pudding, and oden.

Critics said they were worried that the introduction of local ingredients to the menu would prompt a rise to prices on the menu.

Such a price hike would join a recent surge of price increase announcements made after a new labor law was implemented last December.

Some netizens have questioned whether local ingredients necessary meant safer ingredients, as several cases of unsafe, unclean food products have been reported in the past year.

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