The origin of the bookstore dates back to the early 1950s when the late Tjio Wie Tay (1927-1990), who later became popularly known as Haji Masagung, started a kiosk selling books, newspaper and magazines under the partnership name Thay San Kongsie in Central Jakarta, part of Jakarta. As the business grew bigger and more complex in the early post-independence years, Masagung established a new company that published and imported books, named Firma Gunung Agung.
The company continued to grow with the support of poets, writers, scholars and journalist. Amidst the difficulties faced by the new nation, Masagung pioneered the effort to open the eyes of the nation through books. He organized Indonesia's first book fair in 1954.