Our History

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1841 milestone Our History

1828

The Canton Dispensary, the forerunner of A.S. Watson, opened in Guangzhou, China.

1832

Established the first soda-water factory in China (one of the very first companies in the world to manufacture soda-water).

1841

1841 1 Our History
The Hong Kong Dispensary is founded in Hong Kong.

1858

Alexander Skirving Watson, a British pharmacist, joins the company as Manager

1862

The name A.S. Watson (after Dr. Alexander Skirving Watson who joined the company as Manager in 1858) begins to feature prominently with the Hong Kong Dispensary.

1869

1869 Our History

Hong Kong Dispensary is appointed the chemist of the Hong Kong Governor and the Duke of Edinburgh

1870s

Dr Sun Yat–sen Our History

A.S. Watson sets up scholarship to support local medical school. Dr Sun Yat–sen, the renowned politician and revolutionist in China, is also one of the beneficiaries under the scholarship scheme

1871

1871 1 Our History

The Hong Kong Dispensary begins trading under the name A.S. Watson & Company.

1883

1883 1 Our History

A.S. Watson expands overseas to the Philippines and China; establishes a pharmacy and a soft drink factory (1884) in Manila.

1886

ASWCo CI 1 Our History

A.S. Watson becomes the 15th company registered on the Hong Kong Company Registry.

1895

A.S. Watson operates 35 stores and produces about 300 dispensary, toiletry and perfumery lines.

1900 milestone Our History

1903

1903 1 Our History

Watsons Water is established to provide pure water in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

1937

The Japanese invasion of China halts A.S. Watson’s China operations.

1941

1941 1 Our History

A.S. Watson celebrates its centenary just months before the Japanese force attack on 13th December.

1945

A.S. Watson resumes business on 1st September.

1963

1963 1 Our History

Hutchison Group (forerunner of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited) acquires a controlling interest in A.S. Watson & Co., Ltd.

1972

1972 1 Our History

A.S. Watson establishes PARKnSHOP supermarkets.

1980 milestone Our History

1981

Hutchison House 2012 crop Our History

A.S. Watson becomes a fully-owned subsidiary of Hutchison Group (forerunner of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited). At the time we have 75 stores

1987

1987 Our History

Watsons expands to Taiwan and Macau.

1988

Watsons expands to Singapore.

1989

Watsons reopens in China.

1990

1990 Our History

FORTRESS joins the A.S. Watson Group.

1994

Watsons expands to Malaysia.

1996

Watsons expands to Thailand.

1997

1997 Our History

Acquires Shanghai Sparkling Drinking Water.

1998

Watson’s Wine opens its first store.
1998 WatsonsWine Our History

2000 milestone Our History

2000

Savers Our History

A.S. Watson enters European market by acquiring the Savers health & beauty retail chain in the UK.

2002

Kruidvat Group Logos Our History

  • A.S. Watson acquires the Dutch-based Kruidvat Group, adding famous European brands into the portfolio, including health and beauty retailer Superdrug, Trekpleister, Rossmann and luxury perfumery ICI Paris XL.
  • Watsons Water launches its signature bottle design.

2003

  • Superdrug opens its first new identity store in the Bullring Birmingham in the UK

y2003 001 1 Our History

  • Watsons Water celebrates its 100th anniversary of purity & persistence.

y2003 002 1 Our History

  • Watsons opens Asia’s first third generation store at Pacific Place, Hong Kong.
  • FORTRESS launches a new brand identity in Hong Kong

y2003 003 1 Our History

2004

  • Enters Eastern Europe through acquisition of Drogas health & beauty retail chain in the Baltics.
  • y2004 001 1 Our History

  • Purchases a 40 percent stake in Rossmann Germany, adding 786 stores to the Group’s retail portfolio.
  • y2004 003 1 Our History

  • TASTE launches in November
  • y2004 004 1 Our History

  • Watson’s Wine introduces a new store concept in Hong Kong

2005

  • Watsons celebrates 100th store in Mainland China and 300th store in Taiwan
  • y2005 001 1 Our History

  • Enters Turkey through acquisition of Cosmo Shop.
  • Acquires UK specialist perfume retailer Merchant Retail Group including The Perfume Shop in August.
  • y2005 004 1 Our History

  • Acquires Spektr in Russia in October.

2006

  • Opens the first Watsons in Indonesia.
  • y2006 001 1 Our History

  • Watsons celebrates its 200th store in Mainland China in June
  • Enters Ukraine through acquisition of DC, the largest health & beauty retail chain in the market in July.
  • y2006 002 1 Our History

  • PARKnSHOP Hong Kong launches the MoneyBack loyalty programme, which is later extended to Watsons and FORTRESS Hong Kong, and PARKnSHOP China in 2009.

2007

  • A.S. Watson launches MoneyBack loyalty programme in Hong Kong.
  • PNScard08 Our History

  • New store concepts for Watsons in Asia, Kruidvat and Trekpleister in the Benelux and Superdrug in the UK.
  • y2007 001 1 Our History

    y2007 002 1 Our History

2008

  • Watsons launches its loyalty programme in Asia, first in Taiwan, and subsequently in Mainland China, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia in 2009-2010.
  • y2008 002 1 Our History

  • Watson’s Wine celebrates its 10th anniversary serving wine-lovers in Hong Kong

2009

  • Rossmann reaches its 2,000th store milestone in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.
  • Watsons openes its 500th store in China
  • y2009 001 1 Our History

2010

2010 WTC card Our History

Watsons membership?card reaches 15 million members in Asia.

2011

  • DC Ukraine is rebranded to Watsons as a strategic move to sustain its leadership in the market
  • photo 52 l Our History

2012

  • Watsons undergoes a major rebranding exercise to modernize the customer experience

ASW 2014.JUL .23. 5 new FINAL Our History

  • SU-PA-DE-PA opens in September to bring one-stop shopping experience to Hong Kong customers

photo 50 l Our History

  • Kruidvat reaches its 1,000th store milestone in the Benelux

photo 51 l Our History

2013

  • A.S. Watson opens its 10,000th store worldwide.

2013 10000 Stores Our History

  • Drogas celebrates its 20th anniversary

photo 55 l Our History

  • Superdrug launches its skincare & makeup collection B., making a big hit and ranking as a top seller in the market

photo 57 l Our History

2014

Temasek alliance Our History

Hutchison Whampoa Limited (forerunner of CK Hutchison) forms a strategic alliance with Temasek. The Singapore investment company takes an indirect?equity interest of 24.95 per cent in A.S. Watson Holdings for HKD44 billion

2015

12000 store Our History

A.S. Watson Group opens its 12,000th store worldwide in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

2016

    ASW 175 Anniversary Shopping Bag Logo English Our History

  • A.S. Watson Group celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2016.

2018

    A76T6418 1 300x200 Our History

  • A.S. Watson Group, Yonghui and Tencent announce a joint venture to create the largest grocery retailer in Guangdong
  • Bridge 1 300x225 Our History

  • A.S. Watson continues to expand and reaches 14,500 stores, operating 12 international retail brands in 24 markets across Asia and Europe
  • Watsons China exceeds 3,400 stores
  • A.S. Watson global loyalty member reaches 130 million