McDonald's uses only food grown by Chinese farmers and hires 66,000 employees making wages much lower than workers in the U.S. but still on par with China's average salary of $2,600. A manager at a McDonald's in China makes nearly triple the average salary.
Fenton said that American businesses in China need the Three Ps to succeed -- "Patience, persistence and pockets, deep pockets. When you do business in China, you have to be in for the long haul. You have to have a long term strategy."
That long-term strategy includes some fun additions not offered in an American McDonald's. In China, couples can get married at one of the restaurants and parents can pick up a Ronald McDonald cake.
Another American stalwart institution, the Gap, just opened a string of stores in Beijing and Shanghai after two years of intense research. The company redesigned some of its trademark jeans to appeal to Chinese consumers, even designing specific clothes for different cities in China.
The jeans in Beijing will run bigger because people there are taller and the weather is colder.
It's not just retail and fast food.
Automaker General Motors sold a record two million cars in China last year. The company is on a path to selling more cars in China than in the United States. At least 95 percent of those cars were made entirely in China using Chinese workers.
The Chinese government and General Motors split the profit, with 49 percent of sales going to the automaker and 51 percent to the Chinese government. Most of the sales are to first-time buyers, many drawn from the 700,000 Chinese still living in poverty in villages but hoping to move up.
For the future, the newest joint design is a Jetsons-style electric car, a car so tiny it's about a third of the size of a traditional vehicle. During the design's unveiling, GM said that it predicted that by 2040, there will be 1.2 billion cars on the planet and 60 percent of people would be living in cities.
For huge cities like those in China, the five-foot-by-five-foot vehicle is meant for that not-so-distant future when millions of Chinese will need to drive to work each day.
Even if the jobs are all Chinese, with 1.3 billion customers who's going to walk away?