Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited is a retail company in Asia, with a legal base in Bermuda. It is a leading pan-Asian retailer which processes food, wholesales food and personal hygiene products in the Pacific Region and in China. It is a member of the Jardine Matheson Group. Jardine Strategic, a publicly-listed holding company, has attributable 78% stake in the firm. It is a listed company on the London Stock Exchange, with secondary listings on the Singapore and Bermuda stock exchanges.
Among 956 stores in South Asia operated by Dairy Farm, 433 are in Singapore, 186 are in Malayasia, 222 are in Indonesia and 115 are in India. It now employs 56,800 people in the region and has around 2,000 sales from ongoing operations worth 4.5 billion US dollars in total.
Dairy Farm was set up in 1886 by Sir Patrick Manson, a Scottish surgeon, and five well known Hong Kong businessmen. They initially aimed to improve the health of Hong Kong people by providing them with non-contaminated cows' milk and to import a herd of dairy cattle so as to decrease the price of milk by more than half. The farm was located in Pok Fu Lam.
In 1890, Dairy Farm built a low-rise brick and stucco building on Lower Albert Road in Central for use as a cold storage warehouse. This warehouse was later renovated and expanded in 1913 to include a dairy shop, a room for meat smoking, a cold storage room for winter clothes and residency for the General Manager. The building later evolved into the company headquarters until the company moved in the 1970s. The abandoned building was acquired by the Hong Kong Fringe Club, a non-profit-making arts organisation in 1984, and has been carefully restored. This distinctive 19th Century building is now a well-known landmark in Central providing a wide variety of cultural activities and performances.
In 1904, Dairy Farm began importing frozen meat and opened its first retail store at the Central District depot.The second Dairy Farm store was established on Nathan Road, Kowloon towards the end of the War in 1918. Amongst other things, this store provided fishing boats in Hong Kong with large amounts of ice.
In 1972, Dairy Farm was acquired by Hong Kong Land, a Jardines subsidiary. In 1986 Dairy Farm was relisted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after it was demerged from Hong kong Land. Dairy Farm acquired a 50% interest in Maxim's at the same time. The 228-outlet 7-Eleven convenience store chain in Hong Kong was acquired in 1989 from Jardine Matheson.
Since 1999, Dairy Farm has continued to expand its footprint by acquiring supermarket and other retail operations in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Notably, it also acquired IKEA Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2002.