Chairman of Japanese clothing major Uniqlo – Tadashi Yanai – calls on Modi, wants to source garments from India
Tadashi Yanai, president and CEO of Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing Co., met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi recently to talk about the group’s business interest and multi-billion investment plans in India. This is the first high-profile international meeting of any industrialist with Modi after he took charge as PM. Uniqlo plans to set up single-brand stores across India.
Uniqlo is one of Japan’s most popular casual clothing brand. A government statement said Uniqlo was looking to source garments from India for exporting to other countries. Modi, who is scheduled to visit Japan in August, welcomed Uniqlo’s interest in India and elaborated on the benefits of the country’s garment sector in his interaction with Yanai.
Although Fast Retailing Co Ltd’s Uniqlo has been exploring opportunities to set up stores in India, it is learnt to have indicated that in the first phase, it would like to source from Indian market. Uniqlo stores may come in the next phase, though no timeframe is given. According to sources, in the medium- to long-term, the company is looking at investing heavily in India, with plans of hundreds of stores.
Besides Modi, Yanai and his team also met commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and textiles minister Santosh Gangwar to discuss the potential of tying up with manufacturers in the country.
During the meetings, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the textiles minister, said he would welcome the popular brand in India.
“The talks were very positive and favorable,” he said. “There has been a change in regimes in India, and the Japanese are showing a lot of interest in the Indian market. They were here to explore the possibility of investing in India.”
Yanai said Uniqlo intended to not only open stores across India but also procure and produce locally. When asked if the move into India will advance in high gear, Yanai answered, “I think it can be taken so.”
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) made a presentation to hardsell India’s potential in garments as well as a sourcing destination for several top brands of the world. Uniqlo wants AEPC to identify the 10 biggest manufacturers with which it could tie up for exports.
The global brands sourcing from India include Zara, Next, GAP, Marks & Spencer, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch.