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Fast Retailing debuts on Hong Kong stock market

JIJI

Fast Retailing Co., the operator of Uniqlo casual clothing stores, went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The company aims to raise its profile in greater China and Southeast Asia through its first listing on an overseas stock exchange.

The listing of its Hong Kong depository receipts was not accompanied by the issuance of new shares.

Fast Retailing Chairman and President Tadashi Yanai told a press conference in Hong Kong that the company will take advantage of the listing to make itself more global, particularly focusing on Pacific Rim markets, including greater China.

Asked whether mergers and acquisitions for business expansion are planned, Yanai said Fast Retailing can grow by itself.

At the end of February, there were 325 Uniqlo stores in greater China, with 260 in the mainland, 43 in Taiwan and 22 in Hong Kong. Fast Retailing aims to increase the overall China store number to 1,000 within 10 years and to 3,000 eventually, a senior company official for China said.

Large-scale “global flagship” Uniqlo stores were opened in Hong Kong last April and in Shanghai in September.

The firm is expanding its operation to Australia as well. The country’s first Uniqlo outlet will open in Melbourne on April 16.

The store will be located in the Emporium Melbourne shopping mall at the center of the southeastern Australian city.

It will have a total floor space of about 2,180 sq. meters on the first and second floors and two floors below ground and offer a wide variety of products, including those for babies and children.

As the reason for choosing Melbourne, and not Sydney, the biggest Australian city, as the venue for the first Uniqlo store in the country, Fast Retailing Group Senior Vice President Shoichi Miyasaka said Melbourne is Australia’s fashion center.

“We hope our clothes will become a daily necessity for fashion-sensitive people in Melbourne,” Miyasaka, also chief executive officer of Uniqlo Australia Pty, added.