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How UNIQLO evolves its value proposition and brand image: imitation, trial and error and innovation

Pei-Yuh Huang (Assistant Professor at Department of Textiles and Clothing, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
Shigeru Kobayashi (based at Tokyo Headquarters, Tenda and Unify Japan Corporation, Tokyo, Japan)
Kazuhito Isomura (based at Graduate School of International Accounting, Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan)

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 3 June 2014




The purpose of this paper is to clarify how a competitive company develops its own method to create innovation by utilizing imitation and learning.


The paper examines the case of Fast Retailing from the viewpoint of imitation strategy.


Fast Retailing constantly explores and imports business ideas, evolves its business model through trial and error and finally creates innovation.

Practical implications

The paper emphasizes the importance of imitation strategy that flexibly accepts and extends business ideas through learning, creates new values by evolving a business model and combines them with corporate identity and brand.


The case study of Fast Retailing suggests that the successful imitation is enabled by flexible corporate culture and redefining its corporate identity and brand through the process of evolving its business model.



This research was supported by a Chuo University Grant for Special Research.


Huang, P.-Y., Kobayashi, S. and Isomura, K. (2014), "How UNIQLO evolves its value proposition and brand image: imitation, trial and error and innovation", Strategic Direction, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 42-45.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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