Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 28 Tadashi Yanai $31.7B

Random fact: Kept the name Uniqlo after a misspelling; Original name was Uniclo.

Overview

Japan's richest person is the chairman and biggest shareholder of Fast Retailing, the largest clothing retailer in Asia and parent of Uniqlo. The Tokyo-based group has about 1,000 stores and reported revenue of 2.1 trillion yen ($19.3 billion) in the year to Aug. 31, 2018. Yanai also owns two golf courses on Hawaiian island, Maui.

As of :
Last change -$219M ( -0.7%)
YTD change +$5.20B ( +19.6%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset 9983 JP Equity
Citizenship Japan
Age 70
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Tadashi Yanai's net worth of $31.7B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Yanai's fortune is derived from his stake in Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo. He owns 45% of the shares directly and through holding companies as of Feb. 28, 2019, according to Fast Retailing's website. He's credited with the shares held by his wife and two sons because he's founder and chairman of the company. Fast Retailing is Asia's largest clothing retailer with over 1,200 stores, according to its website.

The billionaire owns a 16,586-square-foot residential property on more than two acres of woodlands outside Tokyo. The property -- which is surrounded by two-story walls and includes a guardhouse, driving range and a separate wooden teahouse with a thatched roof -- was valued at about 6 billion yen ($50 million) in January 2017, according to Kenta Morishima, a real estate broker for Ken Corp. in Tokyo. Yanai bought the land in 2000 for the yen equivalent of $78 million in an auction, according to the website of a real estate brokerage Japan Property Central.

Yanai purchased the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course in Hawaii from Maui Land & Pineapple for $50 million in 2009, according to a 2009 report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He later acquired Kapalua's other golf course, Kapalua Bay, for $24.1 million, according to a 2010 report to the SEC. He spends three weeks every summer there, according to a person who has golfed with him and asked not to be identified because the games were private.

The billionaire's shareholdings were verified through company reports and filings to Japan's Ministry of Finance. The value of his cash investments is based on these proceeds, as well as taxes and market performance.

Fast Retailing spokesman Aldo Liguori declined to comment on his net worth calculation.

Biography

Birthdate: 2/7/1949
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: Waseda University, Waseda University

Tadashi Yanai was born in 1949, the son of a tailor and a housewife in southern Japan during the U.S. postwar occupation. A month after he was born, his father started a roadside men's clothing store, Men's Shop Ogori Shoji, in the mining town of Ube, about 75 miles from Hiroshima. The store was located on the first floor. The family lived on the floor above. The business grew into several outlets in the 1960s and 1970s.

Yanai graduated with a degree in economics and politics from Waseda University in 1971, and began his career selling kitchenware and men's clothing at a Jusco supermarket. After a year, he quit and joined his father's business.

In 1984, Yanai started Unique Clothing Warehouse in Hiroshima, later shortening the name to Uniqlo. He changed the name of his father's company Ogori Shoji to Fast Retailing by 1991, reflecting the apparel chain's expansion strategy. It soon became the fastest-growing retailer in Japan, expanding to encompass more than 100 stores over the next three years. That number doubled by 1996, as Yanai used capital from the stock market to build his empire and forge deals with Chinese apparel producers. He started designing, manufacturing and selling only Uniqlo-brand apparel. Uniqlo's fleece jackets, selling for $15, became a hit product. An estimated one in four Japanese had bought a fleece item from Uniqlo by 1998. Uniqlo sold 26 million fleece units through more than 400 stores in 2000, all in Japan.

Yanai began expanding overseas in 2001 and ended up closing 16 of 21 stores in the U.K. He started a food distribution business that also failed. The failures didn’t stop the billionaire from opening stores worldwide. As of July 2015, there were more than 1,600 Uniqlo stores around the world, of which 630 are outside Japan. The company plans to open 100 stores every year in China, it's largest overseas market, according to its 2014 annual report. Besides Uniqlo and discount brand G.U., Fast Retailing has expanded by acquiring other fashion businesses, including New York's Theory, France's Comptoir des Cotonniers, and Onezone, Cabin Corp. and Princesse tam.tam.

Milestones
  • 1949 Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan.
  • 1971 Graduates from Waseda University with bachelor's degree.
  • 1984 Opens the first Uniqlo store in Hiroshima.
  • 1994 Lists Fast Retailing on Hiroshima Stock Exchange.
  • 2001 Becomes an external director of SoftBank.
  • 2006 Uniqlo opens fist global flagship store in New York's SoHo district.
  • 2012 Opens largest Uniqlo store in Ginza, Tokyo.
  • 2014 Hong Kong depository receipts start trading.