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Local petrochemical firm finances museum for Tainan

2012/05/18 14:58:02

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Taiwanese petrochemical company Chimei Group on Thursday donated to the Tainan City Government a building worth NT$1.3 billion (US$43.88 million) that will be used to house a museum in the southern Taiwan city, and said that the donation is a gesture to "give back to society."

Chimei Founder Hsu Wen-lung and Chairman Frank Liao also donated a painting to the city government at a donation ceremony, while Hsu unveiled a golden angel sculpture that will be installed on the roof of the museum.

Liao said the idea of building the museum was initiated by Chimei and former Tainan Magistrate Su Huan-chih in 2005.

During construction of the museum, Chimei was hit hard by the global financial crisis, but its decision to build was not swayed, said Liao, whose company owns Taiwan's leading flat panel maker, Chimei Innolux Corp.

He said the main building of the museum is expected to be completed in August and will boast a floor area of 40,000 square meters. The entire museum facilities will cover an area of 9.5 hectares, said Liao, adding that a building of this type and on this scale will be one that has rarely been seen in Taiwan.

He said the donation is a fulfillment of a dream by Hsu to build a permanent 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 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 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 asserted that museum collections should be public assets, and expressed hope that the new museum will become an important asset of the city.

Meanwhile, Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said the city government plans to turn the museum, which is expected to open in June 2014, into a popular tourist spot.

(By Yang Ssu-jui and Christie Chen)