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When will North Korea have a McDonald's?


There are more than 37,000 McDonald's locations around the world, spread across 121 countries and territories. McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain by revenue serving over 69 million customers daily and employing around 1.9 million employees, 1.5 million of whom work for franchises. In the 78 years since its founding, McDonald's has become an iconic brand and a quintessential example of American free enterprise and global capitalism.

North Korea is a country of some 25.4 million people, is one of the last remaining communist states in the world, and currently has hosted no McDonald's locations in its history. North Korea has maintained one of the most closed and centralized economies in the world since the 1940s. It is ranked 180th worldwide on the Index of Economic Freedom - the worst ranking of any country ranked as of 2019.

On January 31 1990, the first McDonald’s opened in the Soviet Union, less than two years before that country ceased to exist. The road to that historic opening had been long, with McDonald's management saying that the talks with Soviet officials had started as far back as 1976.

Many people saw this opening as a sign of a tentative warming of relations between the USSR and the USA. This was to be the first ever foreign restaurant in the Soviet Union and for McDonald's this was (at the time) their largest restaurant ever, a venue with 900 seats.

The people’s interest in Moscow was enormous. When the Moscow McDonald's announced that 600 positions were available, 28,000 people applied. Workers were paid around 2 rubles per hour, which meant they could earn more than a Soviet doctor. They expected around 1,000 customers on the opening day, but over 30,000 showed up, staying in line for up to six hours, making this the largest restaurant launch worldwide.

In 2018, the Washington Post reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may allow a “Western hamburger franchise” into the country as a show of goodwill to the United States. This reported overture was made just months after a period of intense tension between the United States and North Korea, in which both countries threatened to destroy the other in a nuclear war.

This question asks: When will the first McDonald's location open commercially in North Korea?

This question resolves positively on either a press release from McDonald's Corporation or credible media reports delivering information that a McDonald's store has officially opened commercially in territory that is (as of January 26 2019) part of North Korea.

This question shall endure in the event that North Korea ceases to exist as an independent state, and shall be constrained to the geographic area of North Korean territory on January 26 2019.

The restaurant must be open to the general public in the locality in which it operates, i.e. not a publicity stunt of some sort in which only pre-selected (by either McDonald's or North Korean or other government officials) individuals may participate, and it must operate on commercial terms (i.e. on a for-profit basis, but it need not actually be profitable.)

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