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Hsu (許燦煌): From a businessman to collector of Vietnamese cultural artifacts

Hsu (許燦煌), collector of Vietnamese cultural artifacts  Photo reproduced from National Education Radio
Hsu (許燦煌), collector of Vietnamese cultural artifacts Photo reproduced from National Education Radio
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Editor/ Tim Wu (吳宗翰)

[Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network] In cooperation with the National Education Radio(幸福北台灣) , a series of exciting stories about new immigrants in Taiwan is launched. This episode (一位台商與越南文物的故事:從投資轉賣到收藏) specially invited Hsu (許燦煌), a collector of Vietnamese cultural artifacts, was interviewed by the hosts (秋香、小英) about how he accidentally became a collector of antiquities after 30 years of successfully importing cosmetics into Vietnam. He was the subject of an exclusive interview with the British BBC.

[Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network] presents this episode in 5 languages including Chinese, English, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian, enabling more readers to explore immigrants’ life in Taiwan. 

Read more: The Vietnamese New Immigrant Live streamer create No.1 E-Commerce Brand in Taiwan

Hsu (許燦煌), collector of Vietnamese cultural artifacts.Photo reproduced from National Education Radio

Early on, Hsu (許燦煌) struggled to succeed in business in Taiwan. He made the risky decision to his life after learning that a Taiwanese businessman had arrived in Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam in 1992 with 2,000 US dollars borrowed from his parents in order to start over there. After spending half a year closely observing local life, market research revealed that Vietnamese consumers adore Japanese goods, but that there aren't any Japanese cosmetics available. As a result, he made the decision to introduce cosmetic brands to the country.

The market effectively attested to Hsu (許燦煌)'s insightfulness. He made NT$500,000 in just one month. When he took a motorcycle one day to the used bookstore founded by Ruan (阮氏名), he unintentionally began the process of gathering cultural artifacts. He paid five million VND (about NT$12,000) at the time for more than 200 volumes of books. The owner of the bookstore called him the following day to see antique books. Hsu’s eyes glowed at the memorial to the emperor of Vua Tự Đức, "On it, it said, "I know." I was totally shocked. I questioned how the Vietnamese emperor could write in Chinese characters."

After some back-and-forth negotiations, Hsu (許燦煌) successfully convinced the owner to reduce her initial offer from 15,000 US dollars to 3,000 US dollars for the price-less memorial.

Read more: Chang(張氏錦萍): From a Car Cleaner to an international Beautician

Group photo of Hsu (許燦煌), and the hosts  (秋香、小英).Photo reproduced from National Education Radio

Originally, Hsu (許燦煌) intended to bring these antiquated books back to Taiwan for sale, but the more he learned, the more he was drawn to them. He ultimately resisted selling any of them. In order to study Vietnamese literature and history, he also went to the Palace Museum to receive a library card. Along with wanting to confirm the cultural relics' authenticity, he also wanted to learn more about Vietnam's history and culture. He is not only familiar with the names of the country's previous dynasties, but he is also able to determine the age and authenticity of documents by looking at the specifics of the emperor's seal on the edict, words, totems, etc. “Vietnam is a nation rich in Chinese art and culture, according to what I saw of it.” He added.

The collection of Hsu (許燦煌) has also astounded Vietnam. Hsu 's collection greatly outnumbers the combined holdings of the Harvard–Yenching Library in the United States, French School of the Far East, and the Toyo Bunko in Japan, according to Ruan (阮俊強Nguyễn Tuấn Cường), director of the Institute of Sino-Nom studies, who visited him once.

The two hosts couldn't stop listening to Hsu (許燦煌) 's collection stories. For more content, please listen to the series of [幸福北台灣] episode [一位台商與越南文物的故事:從投資轉賣到收藏]

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