McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) plans to expand operations in China by hiring 75,000 new workers this year and boost the number of locations in China above 2,000 by 2014, Kenneth Chan, chief executive officer of McDonald’s China, said on Friday.

The fast-food giant is also rolling out several new menu items in China, including hefty rice dishes, in a bid to attract dinner customers and to expand its presence in China, Chan said.

The rice the American fast-food giant serves, thankfully, will not be tinted with cadmium. Given the recent cadmium rice scandal, McDonald’s will set a series of standards regarding rice quality and safety, Chan added. McDonald’s will source rice from the northeastern city of Harbin, far away from Hunan province where rice containing cadmium came from.

"Our new dining options are examples of how McDonald's innovates to bring more options to our Chinese customers, because that's what they want," Chan said, according to Xinhua. McDonald’s first came to China in 1990, three years after its fast-food competitor KFC. As far as sales go, McDonald’s has not been able to replicate KFC’s overwhelming success in China, according to Shanghaiist, a China-focused blog.
Part of KFC’s success came from its strategy of adopting local foods, advertising “KFC China is KFC of Chinese people.” Its menu has boasted Chinese elements like Beijing chicken wraps, congee and indeed rice dishes for many years. Looks like McDonald’s is eager to catch up. 

The four new products, two wraps and two meat-over-rice dishes, will be offered starting June 10 in all 1,700 McDonald’s locations across China. The core menu, including staples like the Big Mac and McChicken, will not be changed, Chan said, according to Xinhua, China’s state-run press.

RTR3F51T A McDonald's sign is displayed outside its outlet, the first one which opened in China in 1990, at the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen neighbouring Hong Kong. Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip