A look at the billionaire Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai


Tadashi Yanai is the founder of the Fast Retailing Company, which owns the successful Japanese Uniqlo brand. Yanai was born in 1949 and attended Waseda University to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science in 1971.

Later that year Yanai began selling fashion items and kitchenware at a merchandise store called JUSCO. After this initial experience he joined his father’s clothing shop Ogori Shoji. The first Uniqlo (Unique Clothing) store was opened in Hiroshima in 1984. The parent company was named Fast Retailing and this replaced his father’s Ogori Shoji Company in 1991. The practice of fast retailing was practiced efficiently as the number of Uniqlo stores grew rapidly and within 3 years the company was listed on the Hiroshima Stock Exchange, then with even more growth the company escalated to the larger Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1999.

Yanai is currently the richest person in Japan with an estimated net worth of almost $20 billion. There are now over 2,000 Uniqlo stores all over the world and Yanai has ambitions aims to increase sales to $50 billion by 2020, based largely on expansion in US, China and online.

The Fast Retailing group also owns a number of brands including Helmut Lang, Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers, J Brand, and GU. The group employs over 40,000 people and is set to grow significantly in the future.

Tadashi Yanai profile

5 Things To Know About Tadashi Yanai

Entrepreneur: Tadashi Yanai

Company: Fast Retailing

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