The chief of Russia's economy said Wednesday he was ready to beg McDonald's to open its first fast food store in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok ahead of an upcoming regional summit there.
"We do not have a McDonald's in Vladivostok and I would like to have one there," the online edition of Vedomosti quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the government's pointman for the economy, as saying.
"I am ready to use every means at my disposal to convince McDonald's to open a store in Vladivostok," he was quoted as telling the US giant's Russia vice president Viktor Eidemiller at a forum in the city of Kazan.
Russia's main city on the Pacific has been the recipient of a $20 billion facelift programme designed to get the dilapidated tsarist-era port in shape to for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in September.
But the city has been left largely untouched by Western super-chains such as McDonald's even as it begins to absorb investments from nearby China and South Korea.
The McDonald's representative told Shuvalov that the company was pursuing a different expansion strategy in Russia that saw stores slowly spread eastward from Moscow.
"But it takes a long time to move from Omsk to Novosibirsk to Vladivostok," Shuvalov was quoted as saying in response.
Vedomosti said he suggested that McDonald's expand into Vladivostok from its existing base in South Korea. It was not clear what Eidemiller said in response.
McDonald's says it currently has 311 stores in Russia and hopes to open an additional 40 to 50 outlets per year in the immediate future.