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 remains unchanged is 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.
Read more about Our 180 Years of Love.
Special Feature about Our History
Hong Kong is opened as a free port.
The Hong Kong Dispensary is founded in Hong Kong.
Alexander Skirving Watson, a British pharmacist, joins the company as Manager.
Hong Kong Dispensary is appointed the chemist of the Hong Kong Governor and the Duke of Edinburgh.
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.
The Hong Kong Dispensary begins trading under the name A.S. Watson & Company.
A.S. Watson becomes the fifteenth company registered on Hong Kong Company Registry
Watsons Water is established to provide pure water in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
A.S. Watson celebrates its centenary just before the Japanese force attack on 13th December.
Hong Kong is occupied by Japan on 25 December 1941, starting the “3 years 8 months” Japanese occupation era.
The Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel in HK, is opened.
A.S. Watson establishes PARKnSHOP supermarkets.
Watsons expands to Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It also reopens in China in 1989.
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 joins the A.S. Watson Group.
Hong Kong International Airport opens at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island.
A.S. Watson enters European market by acquiring the Savers health & beauty retail chain in the UK.
The Tsueng Kwan O MTR line begins operating.
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
Watsons Water celebrates its 100
anniversary of purity & persistence.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rises above 20,000 mark for the first time ever.
A.S. Watson launches MoneyBack loyalty programme in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong hosts 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics Equestrian events.
Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination is discontinued.
Watsons membership card reaches 15 million members in Asia.
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) is held for the first time; last HK A-Level exams for school candidates.
Watsons undergoes a major rebranding exercise to modernize the customer experience.
A.S. Watson opens its 10,000
Sarah 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.
Hutchison Whampoa Limited (forerunner of CK Hutchison) forms a strategic alliance with Temasek.
A.S. Watson opens its 12,000
store worldwide in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
A.S. Watson Group celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2016.
Watsons expands to United Arab Emirates, Middle East
Watsons members reach 100 million
A.S. Watson celebrates its 180th Anniversary. We will continue to work tirelessly everyday to put a smile on more customers’ faces.
Watson enters Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Watsons opens its first store in Qatar, Middle East