A Chinese food chain in Cork is to create up to 200 new jobs through the opening of 15 new stores.

Noodlee is investing around €3m in its expansion, which will take place across this year.

The business already has outlets in Mahon and near University College Cork on the Western Road.

Further shops are planned for Mallow, Fermoy and Carrigaline for the coming weeks.

After that, additional outlets are expected to open in Douglas, Ballincollig and Middleton shortly afterwards.

A further three stores will follow in Blackpool, Mayfield and Cobh and the company is looking at other locations.

Noodlee also has a restaurant in Nottingham in the UK and the company is planning to in the long-term to become an international franchise.

The chain was established by Song Ye, who is behind the Fudi and More restaurants in Blackpool and Douglas.

"People have become increasingly more health conscious in recent years and Noodlee represents a healthier and affordable nutritious option for takeaway food," said Mr Ye.

"We have a long tradition of offering our customers affordable, tasty and high-quality food through Fudi and More and our existing Noodlee stores and that will continue."

Mr Song said finding chefs who are familiar with cooking Chinese food is difficult at the moment, due to staff shortages in the sector.

But the company is offering training opportunities to young Irish chefs.

"We will continue to maintain our highest standards of food and hospitality excellence and continue working closely with our Irish producers and suppliers for our high-quality poultry and meats," he said.

"We're very proud of this brand and we are excited to expand further and bring it to more local communities across Cork."