Last updated

Industry Pharmacy
Health care
Beauty care
Headquarters Hong Kong
Area served
Key people
Li Ka-shing
Canning Fok
Parent A.S. Watson Group
Website www.watsonsasia.com
Chinese name
Chinese 屈臣氏
Japanese name
Kana ワトソンズ
Korean name
Watsons old logo (2004-2012) Watsonspersonalcarestores.svg
Watsons old logo (2004–2012)

Watsons (Chinese :屈臣氏; Jyutping :Wat1san4si6) is the largest health care and beauty care chain store in Asia. [1] It is a subsidiary of and the flagship health and beauty brand of the A.S. Watson Group, majority owned by CK Hutchison Holdings.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Jyutping romanization scheme for Cantonese

Jyutping is a romanisation system for Cantonese developed by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK), an academic group, in 1993. Its formal name is The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanisation Scheme. The LSHK promotes the use of this romanisation system.

Health care Prevention of disease and promotion of wellbeing

Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. Health care is delivered by health professionals in allied health fields. Physicians and physician associates are a part of these health professionals. Dentistry, midwifery, nursing, medicine, optometry, audiology, pharmacy, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health professions are all part of health care. It includes work done in providing primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care, as well as in public health.


It operates over 7,200 stores and 1,500 pharmacies in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, mainland China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and Vietnam. [1] [2] [3]

Hong Kong East Asian city

Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Indonesia Republic in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and 7th in the combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.

Macau Special Administrative Region of China

Macau or Macao, officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region of China on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With a population of 667,400 and an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.


A.S. Watson advertisement, 1923 ASWatsonAd1923.jpg
A.S. Watson advertisement, 1923

Dr. Thomas Boswell Watson (1815–1860), from Scotland, was the first member of the Watson family to arrive in the Far East, where in 1845 he set up a private practice in Macau, on the southwest coast of China. [4] After selling his practice to a fellow doctor, he moved to Hong Kong in 1856 where he became part owner of the Hong Kong Dispensary, an offshoot of the Canton Dispensary which operated from 1828 to 1858.

Scotland country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Far East geographical term

The Far East is a geographical term in English that usually refers to East Asia, the Russian Far East, and Southeast Asia. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. The term "Far East" came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 12th century, denoting the Far East as the "farthest" of the three "easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East. Likewise, in Qing Dynasty of the 19th and early 20th centuries the term "Tàixī (泰西)" – i.e. anything further west than the Arab world – was used to refer to the Western countries.

Known as the "Big Medicine Shop" (Chinese :大藥房; Cantonese: Dai Yeuk Fong), the dispensary's main customers were soldiers and sailors. The dispensary was not known as A.S. Watson until 1870, although Alexander Skirving Watson took over in 1858 following management changes. [4] T. B. Watson sent his family back to Scotland in 1857, and he himself followed two years later.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Cantonese standard dialect of Yue language that originated in the vicinity of Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China

Cantonese is a variety of Chinese originating from the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding area in Southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety of the Yue Chinese dialect group, which has about 68 million native speakers. While the term Cantonese specifically refers to the prestige variety, it is often used to refer to the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but largely mutually unintelligible languages and dialects such as Taishanese.

Following the death of Dr T. B. Watson in 1860, the Hong Kong Dispensary was leased to A. S. Watson and two other doctors, and onwards from 1862, the name A.S. Watson featured prominently at the Hong Kong Dispensary. In 1871, the Watson family leased the company to Dr John David Humphreys and Dr Arthur Hunt, and thereafter trading was executed under the name A.S. Watson & Company.

Retail outlets were known as "Watsons the Chemist". The current owners, Hutchison Group, acquired a controlling interest in A.S. Watson & Co., Ltd in 1963. In 1981, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. At this time, the group had 75 retail outlets.

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Diamond Hill Hill in Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China

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  1. 1 2 Richard Lord (27 October 2018). "Watsons: the story of the oldest established business in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post . Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. Ray Chan (22 March 2014). "Li Ka-shing sells nearly 25pc of AS Watson to Singapore investment giant Temasek". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  3. "Watsons". A.S. Watson Group. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. 1 2 Dan Waters (1990). "Hongs Kong's Hongs with Long Histories and British Connections" (PDF). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. 30: 219–256. ISSN   1991-7295. p. 221