Tadashi Yanai is Japan’s wealthiest person with $28.7 billion.
Yanai is the chairman and biggest shareholder of Fast Retailing, which owns the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, per Bloomberg. The clothing brand has around 2,100 stores all over the world and is considered the biggest clothing retailer in Asia. Uniqlo has expanded its selection of lifestyle wear and tapped Roger Federer as its ambassador for athletic apparel.
Aside from Uniqlo, Fast Retailing also has Theory, Helmut Lang, J Brand and GU under its belt. The company aims to unseat Inditex and H&M as the world’s largest clothing retailer. Inditex is owned by Amancio Ortega and features Pull&Bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius under its management.
Under Yanai’s leadership, Uniqlo recorded $20.8 billion revenue in 2019. However, as businesses feel the effect of lockdowns in different parts of the world, Uniqlo also experienced a dip in sales abroad. In Japan, it continues to enjoy its popularity, thanks to the brisk sales of a popular face mask. Inside Retail Asia claims that while sales in China and Japan remain optimistic, the worst is expected in the performance of stores in South Korea, India and Southeast Asia.
Aside from Uniqlo, the 71-year-old billionaire used to be an independent director of Softbank until December 2019. Per Forbes, the Ube, Yamaguchi native also manages two golf courses on a small island in Hawaii. He currently lives in a massive 16,586-square-foot property outside Tokyo. The house, which he bought for $78 million in 2001, features a driving range and a tea house. Now, the property’s value is estimated to be at least $50 million.
Yanai also owns a $74 million house in an affluent area in Shibuya. The neighborhood is known to be home to politicians and CEOs, as reported by Business Insider.
Yanai, who is married and with two children Kazumi Yanai and Koji Yanai, admits he was not really fond of learning the business of his father when he was at a young age. But soon, he grew into the business and started taking over and in 1984 launched his very own Unique Clothing Warehouse, which would later become Uniqlo.
Uniqlo’s success can be attributed to its innovative ways to improve customer experience. It is one of the earliest brands to use artificial intelligence to enhance the shopping experience of its consumers.
The Japanese clothing store is a hit among professionals and students due to its wearability and no-nonsense approach to style and comfort at a reasonable price.