McDonald's is one of the most popular fast food joints (if not the most popular) of all time. From their deliciously succulent Big Macs to their wonderfully sweet McFlurries, we just can't get enough.
And it's certainly not just the US that loves digging into the various items McDonald's has to offer. The popular restaurant can be found all over the world. However, few McDonald's restaurants have been as controversial as this particular one in China.
Yep, one McDonald's (or McCafe to be precise) in China is being branded the "the most controversial McDonald's in the world". In fact, it made national headlines in China after it opened.
So what exactly did this particular McCafe do to deserve such a damning title? Well, it is located within a historic landmark, a villa in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. But less than a week after the cafe opened in this historic villa, the locals were outraged, according to a report by CNN.
The villa, which is now 86 years old, can be found near Hangzhou's West Lake and was once the home of former Taiwan leader, Chiang Ching-kuo. This was until, in 1949, the city fell to the Communist Party and Taiwan was forced to withdraw.
In 2004, the building was declared a cultural relic. Soon after, however, the local authorities started subletting it.
A private club began renting the property but in 2014 it closed due to corruption. The lease was later taken over by local businessman Shen Chunlei who spent a whopping $800,000 on renovations. He then opened the McCafe in November 2015.
And although Chunlei kept the villa's exterior the same, he did change the interior. He also decided to hang up posters of Chiang Ching-kuo inside the building as a way of paying homage to its history.
Although the villa's legacy was supposed to be kept alive through the posters, public criticism just kept pouring in.
Chunlei defended his decision in an interview with CNN. He said that the building had only been occupied by Chiang for a brief period and was almost in complete tatters before he took it over.
"I paid to renovate and manage an old, poorly maintained building that barely had been laid eyes on, and everybody found fault with me," he told CNN.
In addition to the $800,000 he spent on renovations, Chunlei also has to pay rent to the local government. He is now saying he regrets getting into a business venture of this nature, as he has been accused of being a being a greedy, scrupulous businessman ever since.
"I spent all that money maintaining and managing the property, of course, I would hope for it to generate revenues," he said.
But the McCafe isn't the only eatery to be opened in the villa recently. In fact, just a month before, a Starbucks was opened in a different wing of the same building, according to the Taipei Times.
Many residents in the local area are now worried that their historic city is being modernized irrecoverably, undermining its legacy.
But on the other hand, there are plenty of people who support the move to bring in a more western influence to traditionally Chinese properties.