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  also contributed to the compiling of several secondary school textbooks. The most popular of the World Edition secondary school textbooks were the language textbooks, which were widely praised. World Book Company published textbooks over a period of more than 30 years, with titles numbering in the thousands. It was undoubtedly the most important chapter in Mr Chou’s textbook publishing career, as well as a critical period that laid a solid foundation for POPULAR’s educational publishing. Flowering: Majority Market Share, 1950s-1980s The period between the 1950s and 1970s was the golden era of Singapore’s book market and the Chinese textbook publishing industry. As one of the Five Major Chinese Bookstores, World Book Company showed great vision by joining hands with the other four bookstores – The Commercial Press, Chung Hwa Book Company, Shanghai Book Company, and Nanyang Book Company – to form UPH in 1952, to publish textbooks for schools in Singapore and Malaya. However, before any textbooks had even been published, the other four parties left one after the other to compete in the market individually due to disagreements. Under the World Book Company banner, Mr Chou took over UPH and invited the educator Zhuang Zexuan to serve as the editor-in-chief. The first set of “United Edition” primary school textbooks published in 1954 was compiled by nearly 60 educators from Singapore and Malaya and were endorsed by the Federation of Malaya government for use in Chinese schools. UPH’s secondary school textbooks proved just as excellent, while the literature, history, and philosophy content of the junior high textbooks was also recognised to be exceptional, being favoured by over 90% of Chinese junior high schools. That these textbooks were highly influential is clear. As the Malayan Federation achieved independence in 1957, the Five Major Chinese Bookstores once again joined forces to form Educational Suppliers Limited, with Mr Chou as the chairman of the board. Applying a division of labour in their operations, World Book Company became responsible for the publishing of Chinese textbooks and reference books. However, differences surfaced again, and Educational Suppliers Limited was eventually managed solely by World Book Company. World Book Company adjusted its pace quickly, making good use of the resources of both UPH and Educational Suppliers Limited. It actively published a variety of secondary and primary school textbooks. After Singapore achieved independence in 1965, World Book Company successfully took the lead by claiming over 30% of the market share in Singapore. Additionally, the overseas textbook publishing houses under the World Book Company banner – such as World Publishing Company in Jakarta and Educational Publishing House in Hong Kong – were especially active, allowing World Book Company to rapidly displace the older textbook publishers, becoming the main textbook publishing house in Southeast Asia by the 1960s. Fruition: Exceptional Teaching Aids, 1980s-Present With the Singapore Ministry of Education taking over the reins of textbooks publishing in the 1980s, a considerable shift in local textbook publishing occurred. Mr Chou’s youngest son, the current Popular Holdings Limited Group CEO Mr Chou Cheng Ngok, took over the book business. Keeping his father’s dedication to promoting education in mind, Mr Chou Cheng Ngok injected considerable resources into developing the teaching aid market to make full use of POPULAR’s educational publishing experience from over more than half a century. In 1996, POPULAR established Educational Publishing House in Singapore, with UPH under its umbrella, and launched a series of high-quality teaching aids. Furthermore, POPULAR also published a diverse array of widely popular educational supplements in locations around the world, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Canada. At the same time, POPULAR also released teaching aids on electronic platforms, keeping in step with the times, providing students, parents, and teachers with all-around learning opportunities outside of school. From workbooks to textbooks to teaching aids, POPULAR’s educational publishing business has had a challenging but rewarding 95-year history. Although the POPULAR of today has firmly established itself in the field of the educational publishing, it has never been complacent. Instead, POPULAR continues to keep the legacy of our forebears alive and is committed to continue nourishing generations of students on this long road of publishing. (Translated by Daryl Li ) 14 - popularnews 131 

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