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China’s next as Anytime Fitness tackles world

Since hitting 3,000 gyms worldwide in 2015, Anytime Fitness isn’t slowing its global growth, recently announcing plans for 300-plus locations in China. What’s the game plan? We asked to peek inside their playbook.

No. 3 economy is Japan’s attraction

The red circle in the center of the white background represents the sun. The flag is called Hinomaru, which means “circle of the sun.”

La Vida hopes Marilyn Monroe Spas draws globally

Citing its country’s growing middle class, master franchisee La Vida aims to capitalize on an American icon’s enduring association with glamour as it expands Marilyn Monroe Spas in India.

Saudi Arabia at a glance

The only national flag to display an inscription as its principal design, the green Saudi flag (a traditional color in Islamic flags) puts the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script above a white saber.

Kuwait’s Gourmania stretches Ruby Tuesday

There’s nothing casual about Gourmania International’s approach to expanding Ruby Tuesday’s presence throughout the Middle East and North Africa, where the Kuwait-based master franchisee says family dining is still ‘a big hit.’

Country Profile displays Vietnam at a glance

The five-pointed star represents the five elements of the populace—peasants, workers, intellectuals, traders and soldiers—that unite to build socialism. Red symbolizes revolution and blood.

No ‘disjointed’ growth for Church’s Chicken

For a brand competing against the likes of McDonald’s and KFC in international expansion, Church’s Chicken knows it can’t contend with their sheer size. Instead, the brand is driven to be both smart and flexible as it’s ramped up its international growth in recent years.

Spanish operator looking to add U.S. brands

New franchise partner Grupo Iberfood will start by developing the Hooters brand in Spain, where it says competitors are few and the locals ‘love sports, tasty food and beer’—not to mention the servers in orange hotpants.

Country Profile puts the spotlight on Spain

The coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left: Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon), while the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield represents Granada.

Country Profile: All about United Arab Emirates

Slightly larger than South Carolina and bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, the UAE is located between Oman and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Mideast operator details Slim Chickens debut

Kuwaitis love chicken and sauces, says Alghanim Industries’ Phil Broad, making a partnership with U.S. fast-casual concept Slim Chickens the right move for the Kuwait-based company as it grows its franchise portfolio.

Country Profile: Kuwait at a glance

Based on the Arab Revolt flag of WWI, the flag has three horizontal bands of color. Green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, and red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords. The black signifies the defeat of the enemy.

Whirlwind return to India, Sri Lanka, reveals change

Governments in India and Sri Lanka are both trying to be more business-friendly. In India the challenge is that a large, populous country can’t “turn on a dime,” and in Sir Lanka, it’s recovering from civil war and debt. And still, seven U.S. franchisors met interested partners.

Country profile: India’s info in one place

Saffron (subdued orange), which represents courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation, is the color of the top horizontal band. White signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility. The blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation.

High standard of living attracts attention in Taiwan

Business ownership is revered in Taiwan, where entrepreneurs are seeking well-known franchise brands they can develop and where U.S. franchisors can test their concepts before launching in mainland China.

Taiwan, at a glance

Location: In Southeast Asia, Taiwan borders the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea just east of mainland China. Size and name: The island is about the size of Maryland and Delaware combined. Officially known as the Republic of China.

‘Zors see opportunity in Brazil despite economic turmoil

Franchise brands are looking to the future in Brazil and Uruguay, two South American markets with plenty of potential but in need of some economic growth and development attention to reach it.

Brazil and Uruguay at a glance

Language: Portuguese (Don’t speak to them in Spanish, and print materials in both English and Portuguese) Religion: 65% Roman Catholic

Carl’s Jr. beefs up its Indian menu for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka doesn’t offer the population numbers its neighbor India does, but its inclusion in the December trade mission points to the fact that it’s ripe for expansion. Nothing is ever a given in international expansion, which is why a boots-on-the-ground approach is so valuable.

Country Profile: Sri Lanka at a glance

The lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves—symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country—stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness and equanimity.

Specialists tell the upside of being down under

John Kanawati, a commercial specialist for the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney, answers questions posed to him by his U.S. colleagues, Jennifer Stone Marshall and Curt Cultice of the U.S. Commercial Service, on Australia’s mature market.

All about franchising in Australia, at a glance

Location: Between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean Neighboring countries (include): Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to the north; and New Zealand to the southeast

Canada is not one big, giant market to the north

We may talk alike, dress similar and act somewhat the same, but when it comes to franchising, Canada and the United States are not identical cousins. And that’s why you’ll need a guide to the great northern expansion.

Country Profile: Facts about franchising in Canada

Location: North America Provinces: 10, plus four territories Capital: Ottawa Population: 35.8 million Urban population: 81.8% (Canada’s geography and harsh climate have tended to isolate the rural areas of the country; however, all that is changing with technology and the lessening need to “be in the office.”

Affable, skilled workforce makes DR franchising a breeze

Baseball has been very, very good to the DR. One in eight pro baseball players hails from the Dominican Republic, and every major U.S. team has an academy training local youth in this island country. But getting the locals to play ball with your concept will take some due diligence.

Country Profile: Dominican Republic at a glance

Location: Caribbean; shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. The island is located between Cuba and Puerto Rico Size: Twice the size of New Hampshire Population: 10.5 million

Ample opportunities still exist in Peru

Peru has one of the most robust economies in Latin America and a government that’s committed to upgrading infrastructure. And even though the cuisine is a marriage of the best of several regions, there’s still a need for F&B concepts.

Country Profile: Peru at a glance

Location: Western South America, between Chile and Ecuador and bordering the Pacific Ocean Capital: Lima (pop. 9.9 million) Other major cities: Arequipa (pop. 850,000); Trujillo (798,000)

Country profile: Turkey at a glance

The red represents the blood of Turkey’s soldiers. The star and crescent design appears on Ottoman flags beginning in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Upcoming trade mission to Mideast countries

The Middle East is a market that holds ample potential, but is often seen as too foreign a foreign market. In May, a certified trade mission is taking brands to four countries that are building mega-malls at a rapid clip. Sound like someplace your brand needs to be?

Canal-bisected Panama helps franchisors test waters

Panama has a lot of advantages for franchisors wanting to break into the Latin American market. Business practices are a blend of U.S. and Latin styles—only conducted in Spanish.

All about franchising in Panama, in one handy place

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean

Ireland is easy fit for franchisors

No need to kiss the Blarney Stone to get the gift of gab when heading to Ireland. The Irish don’t like hype, but they do appreciate negotiating with people they know and trust. So take the time to pop into the local pub to enjoy a pint of Guinness or cider with prospects.

Country profile: Everything about Ireland

Officially the flag colors have no meaning, but a common interpretation is: green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition; orange represents the minority supporters of William of Orange; white symbolizes a lasting truce between the nationalists and the Orange supporters.

Save Germany for later, experts say

Germany’s mature market may not be the easiest franchise opportunity in the world right now. Germans tend to be risk-averse, which limits the number of entrepreneurs who are willing to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck for a new endeavor with a foreign franchise.

Germany at a glance

Germany has had several different versions of its flag during its tumultuous history. The official colors of the three-equal bands are jet black, traffic red and rapeseed yellow, which is actually gold, not yellow, an important distinction in the German flag lexicon.

Smoothie King makes moves in United Arab Emirates

The Middle East is a hotbed for franchising right now. Those who want to ease into the territory may want to enter through the UAE. But be aware: It's easy to get seduced by money flowing in the region.

Country profile: doing business in UAE

The colors of the UAE flag symbolize Arabian unity. Above is the national flag; however, each of the seven emirates has its own flag, except for Fujairah, which uses the national flag.

Oil and gas exports make Kazakhstan viable

The design features a gold sun with 32 rays shaped like grain to represent prosperity, above a soaring golden eagle. The sky-blue background symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity, as well as the endless sky and water. To the left is a national ornamental pattern which represents the horns of a ram.

Jumping to Kazakhstan from Turkey, Russia

Kazakhstan was given a bum rap by the movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” in which Sacha Baron Cohen portrayed the country as a backward, barbaric place.

Land of the midnight sun offers opportunities

The cross is common to most Scandinavian flags, linking Norway to the other countries. The colors are believed to have been influenced by the flags of France, the U.S. and Britain.

Franchising in Portugal, at a glance

Lisbon could be the San Francisco of Portugal—at least in reference to the hilliness of the city and its beauty. The costal city has an abundance of small stylish cafés, many with outdoor seating, which may be one of the reasons we didn’t see many franchised restaurants in the row after row of buildings. A large busy Starbucks was located in a corner of an historic train station building on one of the bustling squares where shops catered to tourists. It was one of the few American brands spotted there.

Costa Rica At a Glance

Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Most tourist spots are on the Pacific side.

Costa Rica: Ecotourism plus franchise opportunities

Since Costa Rica is first up on the Franchise Times, IFA and U.S. Commercial Service’s trade mission to Central America in September, here’s a preview. To find out more: http://www.franchise.org/CentralAmerica2015.

Pragmatism rules in New Zealand, and laws trump emotions.

New Zealanders aren’t afraid to say ‘no’ during negotiations. Their style is closer to the British reserve than their neighbors in Australia. And don’t use the ‘V is for victory’ sign when you succeed, as it’s considered rude.

Room for more U.S. brands in Japan

The best way to enter into an agreement in Japan is to think small and be patient. “American franchisors always seek the largest development agreements,” says Roy Fujita of I Fujita International, a consultant who works with both Japanese brands coming to the U.S. and U.S. brands going to Japan. His advice: “Don’t push too much in the beginning. Let it (your concept) prove itself.”

All about Japan, the No. 2 franchise economy

English is a mandatory subject in Japanese grade schools, but don’t expect to do business without an interpreter since many Japanese can understand some slowly spoken English, but are not used to speaking it.

There’s a lot to like about franchising down under

From high-tech to Bollywood in India

1.2 billion people and an emerging middle class are just two good reasons for franchisors to take a second look at India. In December, a second franchise trade mission visited Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru.

Belgium

Belgium’s central location in the wealthy region of Europe makes it a natural as an entryway into the region. It’s also viewed as a test market because it contains separate socio-demographic groups.