Tadashi Yanai studied economics and political science before turning to retailing. From a single UNIQLO store, opened in Hiroshima in 1984, the brand has expanded to over 1,300 UNIQLO stores in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, lndonesia, the U.S., the UK, France, and Russia—and is set to open in Australia and Germany in 2014. Today Yanai is chairman, president, and CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., which designs, manufactures, and sells clothing under seven main brands (Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam tam, Theory, and UNIQLO) and is currently the world’s fourth largest apparel retail company. In 2013 TIME magazine named Yanai in its “Time 100,” the magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world. Yanai will give a brief presentation at the GSD in conjunction with a second presentation at Harvard Business School, April 23.
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