McDonald's to Open On Chinese UNESCO Site

Scenic mountain to get golden arches

In an attempt to get to the top of the Chinese market, literally, McDonald's is planning to open a new restaurant on top of Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province. But the news has ruffled some feathers over concerns about increasing commercialization at the historic site. 

The 4,980-foot mountain is classified as a UNESCO Geopark and World Heritage Site, though China Daily reports that the mountain's administration received a formal warning recently for inadequately educating visitors about Earth sciences and were previously criticized for excessive commercialization.

Zhangjiajie's beautiful views and ancient temples have made it one of China's most popular tourist sites. In 2012, 35.9 million people visited the site, which generated tourism revenue of 20.87 billion yuan (approximately $3.35 billion).

To get in on that sweet tourist action, McDonald's has signed a 20-year rental agreement with the owner of the Tianzi fast-food restaurant located on the top of the mountain. A company spokesperson said McDonald's would invest $3.2 million to renovate the outlet and turn it into a shiny new McDonald's restaurant, which is expected to be open by the beginning of May.

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