Taiwan bookstore Eslite to open first Southeast Asian outlet in Malaysia

29, May. 2020

Eslite's bookstore in Nihonbashi, Tokyo (Photo courtesy of Eslite)
Eslite's bookstore in Nihonbashi, Tokyo (Photo courtesy of Eslite)

TAIPEI, NNA – Eslite Corp., Taiwan’s major bookstore chain operator, plans to open a store in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur next year, its first foothold in Southeast Asia.

The move follows its inroads into Japan in September last year, its first outlet outside Chinese-speaking markets – Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China. The 2,870-square-meter space in Tokyo also houses cafes and retail stores.

Eslite is seeking a large space of 3,300 to 6,600 sq. meters in downtown Kuala Lumpur for the planned store.

The bookstore chain will run the Malaysian store “either through a consultancy role like the case of our Japanese store or renting a space as a directly operated shop,” an Eslite official told NNA on Friday. She declined to reveal further details of the plan such as local partner.

The Taiwanese firm plans to establish an omnichannel platform that integrates brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce platforms, dining and travel businesses in its core concept of a fusion of culture and business.

“We expect the platform to own the largest volume of book catalogues to satisfy consumer needs to search and select books on a single site,” Eslite President Mercy Wu told an annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, according to a Central News Agency report.

Eslite opened its first bookstore in Taiwan in 1989. Since then it has expanded into running cultural spaces and hotels as well as partnering with other retailers. It currently runs 42 stores in Taiwan, three in Hong Kong, two in mainland China, and one in Japan, according to the official.