Key Milestones

From the humble beginning as a local dispensary to the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, A.S. Watson Group has been putting a smile on our customers’ faces since 1841.

As one of the longest-standing retailers, A.S. Watson witnessed changes in retail over the past 180 years, but what remain unchanged are the spirit of putting customers right at the centre of our business, and the love to everyone we touch.

This spirit is deeply rooted in our culture and you are invited to take a journey through our history.


1841 milestone Key Milestones


Noble 08 sepia copy smaller Key MilestonesHong Kong is opened as a free port.

AlexandraHseA1 Key MilestonesThe Hong Kong Dispensary is founded in Hong Kong.


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


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


Dr Sun Yat–sen Key MilestonesA.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.


1841 Key MilestonesThe Hong Kong Dispensary begins trading under the name A.S. Watson & Company.


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

1900 milestone Key Milestones


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


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

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


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

PNS store in 19721 Key MilestonesA.S. Watson establishes PARKnSHOP supermarkets.

1980 milestone Key Milestones


Taipei ASW 1 Key Milestones

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


Hutchison House 2012 crop 1 Key Milestones

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


Fortress ShopFront old Key MilestonesFORTRESS joins the A.S. Watson Group.


1998 Airport 1 Key Milestones

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

2000 milestone Key Milestones


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


2002 TKO Line Key MilestonesThe Tsueng Kwan O MTR line begins operating.

Kruidvat Group Logos Key MilestonesA.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


Watsons Water Collection Design Key MilestonesWatsons Water celebrates its 100th anniversary of purity & persistence.


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


PNScard08 Key MilestonesA.S. Watson launches MoneyBack loyalty programme in Hong Kong.


2008 Olympic Key MilestonesHong Kong hosts 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian events.


2010 hkcee Key MilestonesHong Kong Certificate of Education Examination is discontinued.

Watsons Loyalty Card Key MilestonesWatsons membership card reaches 15 million members in Asia.


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

ASW 2014.JUL .23. 5 new FINAL Key MilestonesWatsons undergoes a major rebranding exercise to modernize the customer experience.


2013 10000 Stores Key MilestonesA.S. Watson opens its 10,000th store worldwide.

Sara Lee Wai sze HK Cyclist Key MilestonesSarah 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.


temasek Copy Key MilestonesHutchison Whampoa Limited (forerunner of CK Hutchison) forms a strategic alliance with Temasek.


2015h rev Key MilestonesA.S. Watson opens its 12,000th store worldwide in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.


    ASW 175 Anniversary Shopping Bag Logo English Key Milestones

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


IMG 2620 Key Milestones

Watsons expands to United Arab Emirates, Middle East


100M Members PR image 1 Key Milestones

Watsons members reach 100 million


    logo with gold bg 01 1 1024x768 Key Milestones
    A.S. Watson celebrates its 180th Anniversary. We will continue to work tirelessly everyday to put a smile on more customers’ faces.

    Saudi Arabia Key Milestones
    Watson enters Saudi Arabia, Middle East