Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Japan's billionaires and their growing businesses in India

Tadashi Yanai retains the top spot in the Forbes Japan Rich List 2024, which released today. His fashion company Uniqlo debuted in India in 2019 and has adopted a steady expansion strategy in the country

Fazal Rahim
Published: May 29, 2024 05:01:32 PM IST
Updated: May 29, 2024 05:51:21 PM IST

Japan's billionaires and their growing businesses in IndiaTadashi Yanai, chairman of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, topped the list with a net worth of $38 billion. Image: Yamaguchi Haruyoshi/Corbis via Getty Images

As per the Forbes Japan Rich List 2024 released today, the collective wealth of Japan’s top 50 richest people amounted to $200 billion. Tadashi Yanai, chairman of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, topped the list with a net worth of $38 billion. His net worth increased by $2.6 billion in the past year. Yanai is the founder and chairman of Fast Retailing, which owns several clothing brands, including Helmut Lang, Theory and J Brand, and GU. Uniqlo remains the company’s crown jewel, with its presence in 25 countries with about 2,500 stores.
 

Uniqlo debuted in the Indian market in 2019. The brand has adopted a slow and steady expansion strategy in the country. Up till mid-2023, Uniqlo had only ten stores in India, all in the northern region. Today, it has a total of 13 stores in India, with two in financial capital Mumbai. The company’s revenue in India is witnessing a steady increase as its operations gain momentum. Uniqlo’s revenue in FY22 was Rs389 crore, which increased to Rs622 crore in FY23.
 
Masayoshi Son, the second richest person in Japan, has a net worth of $27 billion. Son is the founder and chairman of the investment giant SoftBank Group. The SoftBank Vision Fund is the largest technology-focused investment fund in the world. It has invested in over 300 hundred companies worldwide. The notable companies in the SoftBank Vision Fund portfolio include Nvidia, Uber, WeWork, ByteDance, Slack, and DiDi.

Japan's billionaires and their growing businesses in IndiaMasayoshi Son, Founder and chairman of the investment giant SoftBank Group Image: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

SoftBank has invested in a large number of Indian startups over the years, almost one-fifth of Indian unicorns (startups with at least $1 billion valuation). It has invested in startups like Flipkart, Oyo, FirstCry, Lenscart, Ola, and Paytm. In February, the value of SoftBank’s investment portfolio in India amounted to about $14 billion.

Also read: Indians on the World's Billionaires List 2024

 
Over the years, while investing in new startups, SoftBank has exited several successful startups, such as Zomato and Policybazaar. Several Indian startups in SoftBank’s portfolio, such as FirstCry and Swiggy, are preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future. The company hopes to get a handful of yields from the IPOs of these startups.

Japan's billionaires and their growing businesses in IndiaTakahisa Takahara, president and CEO of Unicharm Image: REUTERS/Toru Hanai
 
Another noteworthy name on the Forbes Japan Rich List is Takahisa Takahara, president and CEO of Unicharm. The hygiene and pet care product company operates in over 80 countries. Its popular products in India are Mamy Poko diapers and Sofy sanitary pads. The diaper segment accounts for about 84 percent of Unicharm’s revenue in India. Earlier in January, Mamy Poko became the highest-selling diaper brand in India, replacing Proctor and Gamble’s Pampers. In FY23, the revenue of Unicharm India amounted to Rs 3,612 crore.