Dunkin’ Donuts Has Big Plans—and Pork Floss Doughnuts—For China

The iconic Massachusetts brand launches its largest development deal yet in the populous nation. Maybe it will work this time.

Dunkin' Donuts' China pork floss ring

Dunkin’ Donuts’ China-exclusive pork floss ring. / Photo provided

Dunkin’ Donuts apparently believes the third time is the charm to launch its iconic Boston brand in the world’s most populous nation. The Boston Globe is in Beijing for the early stages of a 1,400-store, 20-year China expansion, the largest development deal in the company’s history, and to taste-test new, China-only doughnut flavors.

Generally speaking, Chinese people prefer traditional, savory breakfast foods—think steamed bao and dumplings on the dim sum table, or a big bowl of congee—which, after two failed launches in 1994 and 2008, Dunkin’ Donuts is taking into better consideration, the Globe reports. Chili oil-glazed, pork floss (like salty, savory cotton candy—try it in a bun at Chinatown’s 101 Bakery, or in the pig rice at Tiger Mama), and seaweed-topped rounds are some of the flavors at the Beijing Dunks, in addition to more familiar (to us) options like chocolate frosted, and sprinkles.

Another thing the Canton-based company is focusing on in China this time: Making Dunkin’ Donuts more of a status brand, versus a convenience option.

“We’ve worked hard to make it more of a coffee-shop feel and less of a doughnut-shop feel… We want to encourage people to sit and visit,” Dunkin’ Brands Group’s international vice president George McAllan said. “With the middle class growing as fast as it is here, it’s a highly aspirational place to go.”

Dunkin’ Brands, which also includes Baskin Robbins, is growing in China thanks to a franchise deal with a couple Asian companies, investing $300 million in Dunkin’ Donuts under the joint venture Golden Cup. Beijing is slated to get six more Dunks storefronts this month.

For a glimpse into a morning at Dunkin’ Donuts in China, read the whole feature from the Globe.