Beyond Meat ($BYND) is heading to China.

Today, June 3, Beyond Meat is going global, in a sense - it is partnering with an international QSR to help bring its distribution into new channels and cultures that could help it establish dominance in the pea-protein burger business.  

KFC will carry Beyond Burgers at some of its locations Wednesday in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - all under the Yum Brands umbrella - are also participating and company executives say this could lead to a broader roll-out in China soon. Our map above tracks all the new locations where, for now, you can get some faux-meat with your pizza, or KFC meal (Taco Bell locations are excluded). 

It's also another signal that China - like some European nations - is prying loose from the grips of the global pandemic, and is beginning to reopen its economy. Recently, data showed more Starbucks locations coming online in China and elsewhere in Asia. 

That said - it still doesn't look like Beyond Meat is hiring too much for the launch, based on our chart above - just tapping partners to help expand its footprint. 

Plus, the move comes at a key time for Beyond Meat's trajectory compared to its top competitor, Impossible Foods. 

Impossible Foods' headcount has outpaced that of Beyond Meat, and what's more, it has gained an edge on its better-known competitor judging by social media chatter. Contrast that to Beyond Meat, which has seen its social media attention decline during the pandemic. 

Still, Beyond Meat shares are up about 80% in an otherwise turbulent 2020.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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