Eslite and Taiwan are bidding farewell to Robert Wu

The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A five-day memorial service started Monday for Robert Wu (吳清友), founder of the Eslite bookstore chain that changed Taiwan’s relationship with books and art. The service is taking place in the basement level of Eslite’s Xinyi headquarters from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Friday. Those wishing to visit and pay their respects must call ahead. Wu died July 18 of a congenital heart disease. The sendoff is widely seen as being kept low-profile in line with how the businessman lived. On Monday, multiple business personalities were on hand along with Eslite staff to pay tribute to the company’s former chairperson, who is remembered as a leader of unwavering creativity and diligence who empowered Taiwanese culture through literature and art.

“He was a man who dedicated himself to pursuing greatness again and again; the idea of learning never seemed to end for him,” said Sheen Ching-jing, chairperson of Core Pacific Group. “It really touches me,” Sheen said, adding: “we should all learn from that kind of perseverance.” Former Vice President Lien Chan was also present. Wu has been praised as passionate, giving and constantly inspiring. His business philosophy, according to one of his previous workers, was to respect everyone who walked into one of his bookstores. “Starting his career path as a catering equipment salesperson, Wu always had a unique sense of artistic design and dynamic living culture; he couldn’t live without the purpose of reading in pursuit of a quality life filled with aesthetics,” said Lin Hwai-min, renowned choreographer and founder of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. Under Wu’s leadership, Eslite opened Taiwan’s first 24-hour bookstore and grew into one of the largest chains in the country, with 48 branches and retail businesses, such as Eslite Coffeehouse and Eslite Mall. His daughter, Mercy Wu, will succeed her father as the company’s chairperson.