Table Speech

“Yoneyama Month” Meeting
Bond between Me and Rotary

October 3, 2012

Mr. Hsu, Chung-Jen
The Rotary Club of Taipei Tokai
Chairman, Commerce Development Research Institute
Former CEO, President Chain Store Corporation

 I got interested in business management by helping my parents’ bookshop from my early childhood. My father advised me to study business administration in Japan. My father passed away in 1973 when I was in Japan, and I was compelled to work part-time to continue my studies. I recall it was a challenging time in my life. I enrolled at the Graduate School of Commerce of Waseda University in1975. The retail industry was flourishing in Japan back in the 1970s, and I foresaw Taiwan would follow the same steps in the future. I studied hard and read various documents on the retail industry, from professional journals to governmental publications. I was fortunate to be selected as the 1976-77 Yoneyama scholar. I feel extremely grateful to Hiratsuka RC, my Sewa Club, and my Counselor Mr. Matsumoto. Mr. Matsumoto was born in Taiwan and returned to Japan after the War. He kindly invited me to his home frequently and treated me to delicious dishes prepared by his wife. My four years in Japan was fruitful and memorable. I could also build contacts with those in the retail industry.

 After graduation, I entered the Uni-President Enterprise in 1977 and became the leader that supervised a project for chain stores. My extensive knowledge acquired in Japan contributed to the establishment of the President Chain Store Corporation (PCSC) in March 1978 that embarked on the convenience retailing business and the first 7-ELEVEN in Taiwan opened in 1980. I recall my first encounter with 7-ELEVEN was not in the US but in Tokyo and I was convinced such a convenient business will surely become popular in Taiwan in the future. Going through several challenging years of business, we developed into a major business today with 4,750 stores and 49 affiliates.

 PCSC is dedicated to social service activities as a responsible corporate citizen. Our stores provided rescue food supplies and assisted reconstruction in the wake of the great earthquake that hit Taiwan on September 21, 1999. We also organized the “Taiwan Beautification Association” and have conducted clean-up campaigns with 70,000 participants every year.

 Taipei Tokai RC was established in 1995. It is a Japanese-speaking Club. I made this Club to become a bridge between Japan and Taiwan and to return the favour I received in Japan as a Yoneyama scholar. We have about 40 members, the majority of whom are Yoneyama alumni. We are happy to welcome you, if you visit Taipei, to our Regular Meeting on Thursdays at Royal Hotel starting at 12:30.

 I also established the incorporated association “Republic of China Rotary Yoneyama Association“ in 1997 for the Yoneyama alumni in Taiwan. We have organized symposiums that promote studying in Japan. We have also been providing scholarships to Japanese students studying in Taiwan. Although the number is still small, we would like to provide further and continuous assistance for young Japanese scholars.

 I retired from the Presidency this June. I was requested by the Taiwanese government to help “promote, stimulate and internationalize commercial activities in Taiwan.” We share a similar lifestyle, thus I am determined to work towards closer relationships between Taiwan and Japan, based on enhanced interactions both on business and personal levels.

 I have established 46 companies in 35 years, 20 of which have business alliances with Japanese companies. We also have solid contacts with logistics companies and manufacturers in Japan. We have started to receive an increasing number of company executives from Japan and discuss on wide-ranging issues, from business to culture and technology. I believe Taiwan and Japan should build even closer relations. We are neighbors and our people feel sympathetic toward Japanese people, as we share similar thoughts and sentiments.

 Touching upon the advantage of our close relationship, Rotary Japan Taiwan Friendship Meeting was founded in 2008, where Rotarians in Taiwan and Japan exchange on a regular basis. This year the meeting was held in Kyoto with the attendance of many Rotarians. I am sure such a forum for interchange will spread from now onwards. Let me emphasize the importance of promoting business collaboration that goes beyond the existing interpersonal exchanges. Japan has superior technical and business know-how, which is an asset for success in countries around the world including China and Taiwan.

 Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years before the War. Today, its service and retail industries account for more than 70% of GDP, proving how much progress has been made in the commercial sector. Although the market size is not so big in Taiwan, I am sure business collaboration with Taiwanese companies will serve as a touchstone for success in other Asian countries.

 It is our sincere wish to foster growth in Asia together with Japanese companies. We are determined to work for the betterment of society and world peace as Rotarians. Let me close my speech by calling upon business entities in Japan and Taiwan to join forces towards our economic prosperity and friendship.