Wed, Jul 19, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Eslite Bookstore founder Robert Wu dies aged 66

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Eslite Corp chairman and founder Robert Wu speaks at a summit in Taipei on Nov. 2 last year.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Robert Wu (吳清友), chairman and founder of Eslite Corp (誠品), one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan, yesterday died of heart failure at the age of 66, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

Wu was reportedly taken to Taipei Medical University Hospital at about 7pm, but was later pronounced dead, the hospital said, without giving a cause of death.

Wu reportedly had chronic heart conditions and underwent three surgeries since 1988.

Wu’s daughter, Mercy Wu (吳旻潔), the company’s vice chairwoman, was seen at the hospital.

She did not comment.

A special board meeting would be called to elect a new chairperson, the company said.

Eslite was established in 1989, with its first bookshop in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) on Dunhua S Road, with a focus on art and humanities-related books.

The company expanded to 48 stores, one children’s bookstore, and four music stores in Taiwan. Most of its target market is in urban areas.

Eslite was the first bookstore to set up a 24-hour service in Taiwan, at its Dunhua store, which became a popular meeting place.

The first Eslite Bookstore outside Taiwan opened in Hysan Place in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, in 2012.

Eslite also has branches in China. Competitors have tried to copy its successful business model.

Under Robert Wu’s leadership, the bookstore chain has also expended into construction, retail, hospitality, restaurant and wine businesses.

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