Key Milestones



November 13, 1841

Noble_08_sepia-copy-smallerHong Kong is opened as a free port.

AlexandraHseA1The Hong Kong Dispensary is founded in Hong Kong.


November 16, 1858

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


June 10, 1869

1869Hong Kong Dispensary is appointed the chemist of the Hong Kong Governor and the Duke of Edinburgh.


November 16, 1870

Dr Sun Yat–senA.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.


November 16, 1871

1871The Hong Kong Dispensary begins trading under the name A.S. Watson & Company.


November 16, 1886

ASWCo---CI-1A.S. Watson becomes the fifteenth company registered on Hong Kong Company Registry


November 16, 1903

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


November 16, 1941

Celebration of centenary in 1941A.S. Watson celebrates its centenary just before the Japanese force attack on 13th December.

Japanese-OccupationHong Kong is occupied by Japan on 25 December 1941, starting the “3 years 8 months” Japanese occupation era.


November 16, 1972

Cross-Harbour-TunnelThe Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel in HK, is opened.

PNS-store-in-1972A.S. Watson establishes PARKnSHOP supermarkets.


November 16, 1980


Watsons expands to Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It also reopens in China in 1989.


November 16, 1981


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


November 16, 1990

Fortress_ShopFront_oldFORTRESS joins the A.S. Watson Group.


November 23, 1998


Watsons Wine opens its first store.


Hong Kong International Airport opens at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island.


November 16, 2000

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


November 23, 2002

2002 TKO LineThe Tsueng Kwan O MTR line begins operating.

Kruidvat-Group-LogosA.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.


November 16, 2003

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


November 23, 2006

2006 HSIHong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rises above 20,000 mark for the first time ever.


November 16, 2007

PNScardA.S. Watson launches MoneyBack loyalty programme in Hong Kong.


November 23, 2008

2008-OlympicHong Kong hosts 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian events.

18 ASW staff members participate in 2008 Beijing Olympic Torch Relay.


November 23, 2010

2010 HK CEEHong Kong Certificate of Education Examination is discontinued.

Watsons Loyalty CardWatsons membership card reaches 15 million members in Asia.


November 23, 2012

2012 HKDSEHong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) is held for the first time; last HK A-Level exams for school candidates.

Watsons New StoreWatsons undergoes a major rebranding exercise to modernize the customer experience.


November 16, 2013

2013---10,000-StoresA.S. Watson opens its 10,000th store worldwide.

Sara-Lee-Wai-sze-HK-CyclistSarah Lee Wai-sze, HK racing cyclist, wins the gold medal in the women’s 500m time-trial at the UCI World Track Championships, being Hong Kong’s first-ever gold woman medalist in world cycling competition.


November 16, 2014

TemasekHutchison Whampoa Limited (forerunner of CK Hutchison) forms a strategic alliance with Temasek.


November 16, 2015

Watsons 12,000th Store OpeningA.S. Watson opens its 12,000th store worldwide in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.


January 5, 2016

  • A.S. Watson Group celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2016. The celebrations kick off with a cocktail event officiated by Carrie Lam, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong SAR Government.
  • A.S. Watson continues to expand and reaches 13,000 stores, operating 13 international retail brands in 25 markets across Asia and Europe.
  • Watsons China exceeds 2,800 stores.
  • A.S. Watson global loyalty member reaches 120 million.