Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yaohan Co., LTD.
Native name
Kabushiki gaisha Yaohan
Founded1930 in Japan[1]
1948 (incorporated)
FounderRyohei and Katsu Wada
Most assets acquired by ÆON
Japanese stores became MaxValu; some overseas stores became JUSCO (now ÆON)
SuccessorMaxValu (in Japan)
Area served
Key people
Kazuo Wada

Yaohan Co., Ltd. (株式会社ヤオハン, Kabushiki gaisha Yaohan) or Yaohan (ヤオハン, or 八百半); Chinese: 八佰伴) was a Japanese retail group, founded in 1930 by Ryohei Wada (和田 良平, Wada Ryōhei) and his wife Katsu Wada [ja] (和田 カツ, Wada Katsu).[1] Initially a single shop, it was expanded by their son Kazuo Wada into a major supermarket chain with most retail outlets located in Shizuoka prefecture, south of Tokyo. It was incorporated in 1948 and listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange. The store was far more established and notable outside Japan, due to restrictive laws in Japan that made it difficult to set up new businesses, such that by the time it opened its first store in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the company was already in a state of decline due to accumulated debts from over-expansion.


The Whampoa, a 110-meter-long shopping centre building that takes the form of a ship in Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, housed a large Yaohan department store on its ground and basement levels from the 1980s to the late 1990s.
Yaohan store in Little Tokyo, Alameda Street, Los Angeles, USA

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Yaohan group expanded dramatically outside Japan, especially into Hong Kong (since 1984), China (since 1995) and the US. At its peak, it had 450 outlets in 16 countries, including 9 in Hong Kong, as well in Brazil with stores in São Paulo and Sorocaba,[3] San José, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, Vancouver (Yaohan Centre), Honolulu, London, and San Jose, California. Yaohan's first North American location, at Fresno, California, was opened in 1979 at Yaohan Plaza.

Typical of large Japanese companies, new employees were required to go through induction training programs that, in the case of Yaohan, had a strong religious emphasis on the principles of Seicho-no-Ie. Employees also had to go through regular seminars on Seicho-no-Ie and were ultimately required to be members of Seicho-no-Ie.[4] This was not without resistance from its employees. Although the company was less strict on seminar attendance and membership for employees of overseas branches, the same resistance persisted.

Hong Kong[edit]

The first Yaohan store was opened in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, Hong Kong in 1984. After that, Yaohan store grew quickly in Hong Kong and had opened nine stores, which include Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Whampoa Garden, Yuen Long, Ma On Shan, Tsuen Wan. All the stores were closed in 1997 due to the financial turmoil and the burst of the Japanese economy bubble. Then many stores were replaced by another Japanese department store chain, JUSCO (now called AEON).

Yaohan is one of the listed companies in Hong Kong during 1986 to 1997. It has owned many companies, such as the Wonderful World of Whimsy, Millie, Santa Ana Bakery and some another fast-food restaurant. But many of them were closed later.


Yaohan store was established and opened in 1992 in Macau. It is the first and the only department store in Macau until now. It was renamed as New Yaohan after the bankruptcy of the original company, and the new company is operated by Yaohan International Company Limited.


Sunway Putra Mall, where Yaohan's first Malaysian store once operated from 1987 to 1997. It is still referred to as Yaohan by the locals

Yaohan expended to Malaysia in May 1987 with its first store at The Mall in the Chow Kit district of Kuala Lumpur. By 1997, Yaohan had expanded to six stores including one in East Malaysia:

Following the chain's bankruptcy in 1997, all stores were replaced by Aktif Lifestyle Corporation Bhd in January 1998[5] and later Parkson in 2004.


Its first store to open in Singapore in 1974 at Plaza Singapura revolutionised the grocery shopping experience in Singapore,[6] and it quickly became a household name.[7] Other stores were also opened in Thomson Plaza (1979), Bukit Timah (1982), Jurong (1983), and Parkway Parade (1983).[8][2] The Jurong store was closed in 1989, and a new store planned at the IMM Shopping Mall was due to open in 1990.[2] The sixth store was supposed to open in Kovan Shopping Centre in 1993.[9] When the last store to cease operations in 1997 exited Singapore from Thomson Plaza, its staff were visibly moved and some were in tears.[2] Also in operation in Singapore since 1985 was the Yaohan Best chain (a joint venture with Best Denki), specializing in electronics, which first opened in Yaohan's store space.[6]


The first Yaohan store was opened in Thailand at Fortune Town, Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok in 1991 following by Future Park Bang Khae in 1994. (Thai: เยาฮัน) Withdrew during the year 1997 following financial crisis.


In 1992, Yaohan opened its first branch in Indonesia at Plaza Atrium, a shopping center in the Segitiga Senen superblock, Central Jakarta. Opening on 21 August 1992, the 3-storey store was 100% managed and owned by PT Suryaraya Mantaputama (co-owned by Suhartoyo, T.P. Rachmat, Djoko Soedjatmiko and Ali Santoso),[10] being supported with a US$10 million investment from Yaohan International Company Limited, which also licensed branding, distribution, and basic training.[11][12] After the Plaza Atrium branch, there were plans to open a second branch in Mal Kelapa Gading 2, although it was instead replaced with a Sogo. This outlet closed in early 1995,[13] due to its inconspicuous location being unattractive for its target customers, resulting in rapid loss. It has since been replaced by Matahari, a local department store chain. A few unrelated supermarkets under the name Macan Yaohan also opened since 1985 in Medan, although all locations had since closed in 2015.


Yaohan Centre in Richmond, BC. The shopping centre retained its name after purchase by the President Group

When the company faced financial difficulties, it was split into two companies, one in Japan and with the overseas part headquartered in Hong Kong, in a bid to survive. The group was traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Yaohan International Company Limited until 11 August 1998. Through a combination of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the stagnation of the Japanese retail market, however, the group declared bankruptcy with 161 billion yen of debts. It was the biggest postwar failure in Japan's retail sector at the time. The super-market chain asked for protection from creditors under Japan's Corporate Rehabilitation Law on 18 September 1997. Many outlets were closed.

In March 2000, Yaohan in Japan was bought by ÆON Group and changed its name to Maxvalu Tokai; most of the stores in Hong Kong were also overtaken by ÆON and became JUSCO. Other stores in the US were bought by Maruwa, Mitsuwa, and Marukai, the latter two based in Los Angeles. Stores in Canada were bought by The President Group, a Taiwanese company.

A former Yaohan department store in Macau is operating under the trading name New Yaohan (新八佰伴), operated by Yaohan International Company Limited in Hong Kong which is owned by STDM (controlled by Stanley Ho) and no longer has a connection with the Wada family. Yaohan Best has been renamed as Best Denki.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Japan supermarket giant Yaohan company went bankrupt". Today in History China. 8 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Yaohan (Singapore)". nlb.gov.sg. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019.
  3. ^ Jornal Cruzeiro do Sul/FUA (5 June 2012). "Yaohan ainda está na memória". Jornal Cruzeiro do Sul. Archived from the original on 7 October 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  4. ^ Clarke, Peter B. (2013). Japanese New Religions in Global Perspective. Routledge. pp. 52–63. ISBN 978-1136828652.
  5. ^ "New Straits Times – Google News Archive Search". New Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Straits Times readers share fond memories of Yaohan shopping centres". The Straits Times. 1 June 2015. Archived from the original on 29 August 2019.
  7. ^ "アジアのテレビ放送局の現状と課題 – 第24回JAMCOオンライン国際シンポジウム – JAMCO" [15th Online International Symposium / Telecasted Images from Japan: Refracting Reality and Fantasy among Broadcast Consumers in Singapore]. Archived from the original on 20 June 2006. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  8. ^ Siam Future : Seiyu Singapore posts first full-year net profit
  9. ^ "Institute for Retail Studies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ Eksekutif, Masalah 159-162
  11. ^ YOEDHA, DHIA PREKASHA. Bisnis Eceran (1). Riuh Mengais Kocek dan Gengsi Konsumen. 18 September 1992. Kompas.
  12. ^ (TOM) (21 August 1992). "Yaohan Hadir Di Jakarta". Kompas. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  13. ^ NIC, DRM. Plaza Atrium Senen yang Merana. 24 September 2001. Kompas

External links[edit]