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Food & Beverage

Japan's Saizeriya takes slice of China's food scene with $3 pizza

Robust overseas earnings add new flavor to stock seen as bland

Saizeriya's spicy ma la pasta, far left, is made for Chinese tastes and costs less than $2 a plate.

TOKYO -- Saizeriya, a purveyor of affordable Italian cuisine by way of Japan, has found an eager audience in China, providing a boost to profit margins that could help the company shed its image as just another mediocre domestic-demand stock.

The restaurant chain reported a 20% rise in operating profit from its overseas business for the year through August. Saizeriya's locations outside Japan -- which numbered 411 at the end of August, mostly in China -- now generate nearly half the company's overall profit.

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