Taiwanese petrochemical conglomerate Chi Mei Group (奇美集團) donated a building worth NT$1.3 billion (US$43.88 million) to the Greater Tainan Government on Thursday that will be used to house a public museum in the southern city.
The donation is a gesture to “give back to society,” the Chi Mei Group said.
Chi Mei founder Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍) and chairman Frank Liao (廖錦祥) also donated a painting to the city government at the donation ceremony, where Hsu also unveiled a golden angel sculpture that will be installed on the roof of the new museum.
Liao said the idea of building the new museum was initiated by the Chi Mei Group and former Tainan county commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) in 2005.
During the construction of the museum, Chi Mei was hit hard by the global financial crisis, but its resolve to make the institution was not swayed, said Liao, whose company owns Taiwan’s leading flat panel maker, Chi Mei Innolux Corp.
He said that the main building of the new museum is expected to be completed in August and will boast a floor area of 40,000m2. The whole of the new museum will cover an area of 9.5 hectares, Liao said, adding that a building of this type and of this scale is rarely seen in Taiwan.
He said the donation is a fulfillment of Hsu’s dream to build a permanent public museum to give back to the city where his company is based.
A renowned art lover and amateur violinist, Hsu established the Chi Mei Museum Preparatory Office, which later became the Chi Mei Museum in 1992.
The current museum, located in the company building, has been open to the public since its establishment and houses collections ranging from ancient artifacts and world-class violins to renowned classical paintings, Japanese samurai swords and bird and animal specimens.
Hsu said he has been collecting for 30 years with the goal of establishing a museum.
He said that museum collections should be public assets, and expressed hope that the new museum will become an important asset of the city.
Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said the city government plans to turn the new museum, which is expected to open in June 2014, into a popular tourist spot.