The decision by McDonald's to take greater control of its China business and expand aggressively in the face of a consumer slowdown and geopolitical tensions seems risky — but the potential pay-off is great, analysts say.

Last month, the U.S.-based burger-maker cut a deal to repurchase the 28% stake in its China business that Carlyle Group took in 2017, giving it a 48% share in $6 billion worth of operations that include Hong Kong and Macau.

The move contrasts sharply with the prevailing trend of multinational corporations reeling back investments in China or even exiting altogether because of geopolitical and economic challenges.