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After expanding in China’s biggest cities in recent years, Yum Brands Inc. is focusing on populating the country’s less-urbanized areas. Building in those outposts of the developing nation will give it the kind of infrastructural advantage that McDonald’s established decades ago in the U.S., said CEO David Novak at the company’s investor conference Thursday.

Yum Brands, which also owns Taco Bell in the U.S., is already the biggest Western fast-food chain in China, with about 5,400 locations, compared with 1,600 for McDonald’s.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports