A.S. Watson Group Celebrates its 180 Years of LOVE and Transformation

Monday December 7th, 2020 A.S. Watson GroupAll BrandsAll MarketsAsiaCorporate AnnouncementEuropeHong Kong

A.S. Watson Group, the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer, celebrated its 180th Anniversary today by hosting a 5G-enabled virtual cocktail event, gathering CEOs of the world’s top consumer goods companies* and over 300 business partners and charity partners from all around the world.

At the cocktail, A.S. Watson’s Group Managing Director Dominic Lai remarked the rich history of the company and individuals who helped shape the company’s success. “This 180th Anniversary celebration is a testament to A.S. Watson’s ability to remain leading in the ever-changing customer landscape for health, beauty and lifestyle products and services around the world. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has confronted the world with unprecedented challenges. Many companies including retailers are struggling to survive. As one of the longest-standing companies in Hong Kong and in the world, A.S. Watson has shown throughout our 180 years of history that we can weather challenging times. Our passion to serve our customers, our agility and constant transformation enables us to adapt quickly to changing environment and stay resilience.”

180 Years of LOVE
A.S. Watson Group was founded as a small dispensary in 1841 in Hong Kong. Alexander Skirving Watson, a British pharmacist, was the first store manager of the dispensary and later the company registered under his name A.S. Watson & Company Limited.

Mr Lai continues, “From the very beginning, we realised that our purpose of existence is more than just a business. We offered free medicines to the needy and established medical scholarships to nurture talents for the society. We are proud that the world-renowned politician in modern historyrevolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen was one of our awarding scholars. Putting a smile on our customers’ faces was and still is our everyday purpose in the 27 markets we operate. I don’ think that the founder could have imagined 180 years ago that A.S. Watson would grow to be the world’s top 50 retailer**.

“Since 1981, we’ve become part of CK Hutchison Holdings who has supported our growth journey. As the company expands its footprint in Asia, Europe and recently into the Middle East, we are honoured to have so many talented employees who have served the company throughout our history, along with great business partners.”

During the virtual cocktail, invited guests unveiled together a giant heart-shaped photo mosaic to celebrate the 180 years of love that A.S. Watson has received from its billions and billions of customers around the world.

Connecting Customers with its 16,000 Offline and Online (O+O) Stores
The occasion is a double celebration as A.S. Watson Group has reached just another significant milestone of 16,000 offline and online stores.

“Technology has changed the way our customers shop. The pandemic this year has further accelerated their demand for integrated O+O (Offline plus Online/ O plus O)experience in the way they shop and experience brands.O+O is the new standard for retail describing how customers shop today, which almost always involves offline plus online. The traditional O2O model (online to offline or offline to online) from the past generation drove customers from one channel to another, however O+O is totally different. It is more about creating an integrated experience to better serve customers’ needs, that enables them to shop across any channel, anytime, anywhere.”

“We have been driving digital transformation in the organisation since 2012 which has enabled us to connect with customers anytime, anywhere. We are grateful for the trust and love to our brands from customers, and the 140 million loyalty member base remind us to work hard every day for this community we have built.”

Small Smile. Big Impact
During the coming 12 months of celebration, the company’s businesses around the world will launch activities to engage its employees, customers and to give back to communities. It will continue its global fund-raising campaign for Operation Smile to sponsor life-changing surgeries for children with cleft lip or palate so they can gain the beautiful smile they deserve.

The Group has also announced the launch of A.S. Watson Smile Community which aims at reaching 1.8 million smile index by collecting cheerful photos to mark its 180th Anniversary.

Mr Lai remarked, “Love is at the heart of A.S. Watson Group and following such a challenging year, we want to give our colleagues, customers and partners more reasons to smile. A small smile can have big impact, not only to promote individual’s mental wellness but also to bring positivity to people around them. The A.S. Watson Smile Community will make use of AI technology to measure whether the smile is a bright one. We aim to collect 1.8 million smile index by March 2021 to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness. By uploading their smiling pictures to projectlol.hk, anyone can become part of our Smile Community ”

Complete details of A.S. Watson Group’s 180-year history can be found at https://www.aswatson.com/180th-years-of-love/key-milestones/

*List of VIP Guests of the Event

  • David Taylor, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO, P&G
  • Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman & CEO, L’Oréal
  • Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
  • Stefan De Loecker, CEO, Beiersdorf
  • Carsten Knobel, CEO, Henkel Group
  • Laxman Narasimhan, CEO, RB
  • Noel Wallace, Chairman, President & CEO, Colgate-Palmolive
  • Masahiko Uotani, President & Group CEO, Shiseido
  • Michitaka Sawada, Representative Director, President and CEO, KAO
  • Cédric Prouvé, Group President International, The Estée Lauder Companies
  • Marc Puig, Chairman & CEO, PUIG
  • Philippe d’Ornano, President, Sisley
  • Debra Perelman, President & CEO, Revlon

**Deloitte’s Global Power of Retailing 2019