By  on August 12, 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Vivian Wu Yen, chairwoman of the Yulon Group and a major figure in Asian textiles, died Saturday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. She was 95.

A native of China’s Jiangsu Province, Wu and her husband, Yen Ching-ling, left the Mainland for Taiwan in 1948 and created an industrial empire spanning textiles, automobiles, semiconductors and finance. In 1951, Tai Yuen Textile Co. was set up in Hsinchu, followed by Yulon Motor Co. in 1953 and China Motor Corp. in 1969. These three enterprises were later merged into the Yulon Group.

The Yulon Group, through its apparel subsidiary Carnival Industrial, imports international labels, including Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans, Henry Cottons and Diesel.

Wu was raised in a textile family and was believed to be one of Taiwan’s wealthiest women. In 1981 she took over the Yulon Group after the death of her husband, and she remained active in management until last year.

Her son, Kenneth Yan, who returned to Taiwan in 1989 after studies at Rice University in Houston, is now the chairman.

Wu earned degrees from St. John’s University in Shanghai and Columbia University in New York. She received many honors, the most recent being the “Eminent Achievement Award” from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2003.

A memorial hall is being planned at the Yulon Group’s headquarters.

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