Just months after a Honda police car was upturned for being Japanese and shops across China were boarded up for fear of attack, a Japanese fashion chain has announced a new flagship store, in Shanghai.
Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo is set to open the new 6,600 square meter store in Shanghai – its largest worldwide – despite recent anti-Japan sentiment in China over a territorial dispute that has dogged the countries’ economic relations.
“We have wanted to open… our flagship store worldwide in Shanghai for quite some time,” said Pan Ning, China chief executive of Fast Retailing Co, which operates Uniqlo.
“We will keep focusing on the Asia market” especially China, which has become the “center for economic growth”, Fast Retailing said. “We think becoming number one in China means becoming number one in the world,” it added.
Uniqlo opened its first store in China in September 2002, and as of end March 2013 the company is operating 189 retail locations throughout the mainland, reports the Financial Times.
Fast Retailing said the fashion brand’s China sales for the three months to last November exceeded its conservative expectations, even at the height of anti-Japanese protests, according to Quartz.
“Many Chinese don’t even know Uniqlo is Japanese. They just love the product,” says Shaun Rein, of China Market Research in Shanghai. “Chinese in general will buy Japanese products unless something goes bad…”