Yum China trades higher after spinning off from Yum Brands

Customers leave a Yum! Brands Inc. KFC restaurant in Shanghai, China.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Yum China began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday at $24.51 under the ticker "YUMC" after spinning off from Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

Shares were up 0.16 percent by late morning.

As part of the separation, Yum China will be a licensee of Yum Brands on the China mainland.

"We think there's unlimited growth potential in China," Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Creed cited increased urbanization and the construction of additional infrastructure and malls as catalysts for further growth in the country.

"We are so far from being saturated it's not even funny," he said.

Yum Brands consists of nearly 43,000 restaurants in 135 countries while Yum China has more than 7,300 locations in more than 1,100 cities.

In the long run, Yum China CEO Micky Pant said he thinks China could eventually contain 20,000 Yum restaurants.

"The way we look at it at the moment is we have about five stores for every million of population, and that's underpenetrated," he said. "In our view, we can treble the number of stores."