McDonald's to open restaurant in Vietnam

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- McDonald's plans to open its first restaurant in Vietnam, the fast food company said Tuesday, making it the latest U.S. brand to move into the communist country that was once at war with the United States.

McDonald's says it has awarded a franchise for a location in Ho Chi Minh City that should open early next year. But the chain is actually trailing some other leading U.S. food franchises with its move into the region. Yum Brands already has opened a Pizza Hut and KFC in Ho Chi Minh city, and Subway has a location there as well. Starbucks announced its plans to open in Vietnam in January.

The franchise was awarded to Henry Nguyen, a Vietnamese businessman who was born in Vietnam but came to the United States as a child with his family. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and received a medical and business degree from Northwestern University. He then worked as an associate at Goldman Sachs in its technology group before deciding to return to Vietnam. Nguyen is the managing general partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, the first technology venture capital firm in the country, and is the son-in-law of Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.

Nguyen said one of his first jobs as a teenager was working in a McDonald's and that he's wanted to open one in Vietnam since he returned to the country more than a decade ago. Vietnam will be the 38th country in Asia in which it will operate.