TOKYO -- Fast Retailing will take its Uniqlo casual clothes retail chain to India in the fall of 2019 when it opens its first outlet in Delhi, the Japanese company announced Wednesday.
The entry into the Indian market, which is enjoying fast economic growth, is a key step in Fast Retailing's Asian expansion plan. It comes after the company received the Indian government's approval of its application to operate a business in the country, which it submitted November 2017.
A wholly owned subsidiary will be set up in Delhi to manage the planned local chain. It will locally hire staffers for the first outlet and train them, including candidates to become managers.
India is a large and growing market, with a population of about 1.3 billion, second only to China, and a fast-growing economy.
"You can't talk about Asia without talking about China and India," Fast Retailing Chairman and President Tadashi Yanai has said.
In India, 30% of the value of goods sold in stores must be made in the country.
Uniqlo is already manufacturing clothing by commissioning the work to a local partner and it plans to gradually raise the local sourcing ratio to 30% over five years starting in 2019.
Its stores will handle popular items that focus on functionality as well as those tailored to the local climate, culture and preferences. Yanai said he felt the need to "bring ourselves closer to local people."
Product development will also take India's Hinduism, Islam and other religions into account.
Leading global retailers such as Spain's Inditex, which owns the Zara brand, and H&M operator Hennes & Mauritz of Sweden are already operating in the Indian market.
Uniqlo's foray into the market is seen as the key to determining the future success of its overseas businesses.