Wetzel’s Pretzels plans to open 50 units in China by 2021, with the first scheduled to open later this year. 

The chain’s initial push will focus on Shanghai, with plans to expand into Beijing and South China. Leading the expansion are Wetzel’s Pretzels master franchisee Will Zhu, his company, Golden Wheel Investment & Management, and its China branch, Bakery (Shanghai) Restaurant Management Co., Ltd.

“With a growing middle class, consumer passion for foreign brands, and the uniqueness and freshness of our pretzel products, the timing is right to enter this market,” said Jennifer Schuler, Wetzel’s Pretzels president. “The high-traffic venues in China are looking for new, fresh concepts that resonate with consumers.”

The brand will launch with its signature offerings such as made-from-scratch pretzels, Bitz, Wetzel Dogs and Fresh and Frozen Lemonade, and will introduce custom offerings seasonally to meet local flavor profiles and demand.

The pretzel purveyor currently has more than 340 locations across the globe.