Yum Brands CEO: China Is The Biggest Retail Opportunity Of 21st Century

USA Today scored a great interview with David Novak, the CEO of Yum Brands -- the umbrella company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The Q&A is full of interesting nuggets; Novak had the habit of taking dates to Pizza Hut -- how's that for brand allegiance?

Later on in the interview, Novak discusses China, an area of the world that Yum Brands has aggressively expanded its reach. He says:

China is the biggest retail opportunity in the 21st century. It's the biggest restaurant opportunity in the 21st century. The biggest challenge for us is (to) have leading brands in (key restaurant categories) in China … and to build the people capability that will accelerate and drive growth.

In the case of Yum Brands, the company has some competition on its hands. McDonald's plans to open 700 more outlets in China by 2013. Still, KFC fans are particularly loyal in China -- Bloomberg reports that Colonel Sanders' image is more visible than Mao's in many Chinese cities.