The ten shopping trolleys Liu Xue-Bing’s workshop produced sold out in the morning. They hurriedly made 20 more and those were snatched up as well. The reason why the trolleys sold well was simple - compact, good material and reasonable pricing. Most importantly, it was easy to use. It could not only be used for groceries after unfolding it, but a bench as well after closing the lid. The old folk could use the shopping trolley for groceries in the supermarket and as a mobile bench afterwards; they could take a break and sit on it. The shopping trolley was very practical.
Xia Lei was quite happy with the news. He tasked Guan Ling-Shan with going to the Trade and Commerce Bureau to register trademarks and prepare for mass production. Once they had enough stock, they would send out their sales and marketing staff to expand their sales channels.
A shopping trolley would not bring them a lot of profit but it was a good start and gave Thunder Horse Manufacturing a direction in which to focus their development. They would make people their foundation, designing and manufacturing products which regular people needed instead of aiming high and going for cars or large machinery.
A small company had to have a small company’s attitude and strategy - accumulate, then expand!
Qin Xiang came to Xia Lei’s workshop in the afternoon.
QIn Xiang was dressed provocatively in a white, deep V-necked T-shirt and a pair of tight shorts with a black decorative belt around his waist. This way of dressing, coupled with a face prettier than the average woman, accentuated his tranny-ness.
The employees of Thunder Horse Manufacturing and Beauty of Beauteous Supermarket call Qin Xiang ‘Queen Qin’ behind his back. He was not angry when he found out but happy, and pleased with it for quite a time.
“What are you busy with?” Qin Xiang’s voice was high-pitched.
Xia Lei stopped what he was doing. “Preparing to build a lathe.”
“Lathe? Boring.” Qin Xiang smiled. “I came to see you and chat with you.”
Xia Lei returned the smile. “What do you want to chat with me about?”
“Chi Jing-Qiu, and that man who looked like your father,” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei paused. He had not thought about that matter in a while. The image of that man surfaced again in his mind at the sudden mention of him. That purchase order and the man who looked like his father was an unsolved mystery to him.
“I didn’t forget about this after you went to Germany and I followed Chi Jing-Qiu a few more times. That man did not appear again but I found out that she was meeting those small clients who’d been giving us purchase orders and those clients subsequently became clients of East Wind Heavy Industries,” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei’s brows wrinkled. “I heard from Si-Yao that she had asked you and you’d said you didn’t know. What’s this now?”
“Si-Yao has a short fuse and she is a martial artist. If I tell her something like this she’ll surely go make trouble with Chi Jing-Qiu. Don’t forget you still have an enemy in Xu Lang. If she beats up Chi Jing-Qiu, Xu Lang will definitely not let go of the opportunity to get revenge. I can’t manage your company either if Si-Yao gets arrested while you’re in Germany. Won’t this all end up a mess then?” said Qin Xiang.
Qin Xiang didn’t just look like a woman; he was more womanly than a woman and fairly detailed. He had hid things from Liang Si-Yao but it was undeniably for well thought out reasons and the right thing to do.
Xia Lei nodded. “Yep, what you did was right. However, Chi Jing-Qiu couldn’t have persuaded all of our smaller clients based on her status, could she? Besides, those small orders are nothing much to her. Why would she do this?”
“Have you forgotten who she works for?”
Xia Lei was struck by a thought. “You mean… Ning Yuan-Shan?”
“Mm, it’s Ning Yuan-Shan. I discovered that our smaller purchase orders suddenly disappeared after Chi Jing-Qiu interacted with our clients. I broke into Ning Yuan-Shan’s office one evening and installed a listening device in it. This is a recorded conversation between Ning Yuan-Shan and Chi Jing-Qiu. Listen to it.” Qin Xiang took out his mobile phone and tapped it, opening an audio file.
Ning Yuan-Shan’s voice came from the phone. “Jing-Qiu, how is the progress on that matter I asked you to handle?”
Chi Jing-Qiu’s voice came from the phone next. “Chairman Ning, I’ve done what you asked and it all went well. I took all of Xia Lei’s clients and brought them to us. They will not place orders with Thunder Horse Manufacturing. You don’t have to worry about these small matters, Chairman Ning. Those small companies switched over eagerly when they heard that it was our company. A small processing plant like Thunder Horse Manufacturing trying to make it big? Ha! I’m sure that Xia Lei’s company would have gone bust long ago if it were not for the purchase orders from China Industrial Group.”
“You’ve done well. Get all of Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s clients, even those potentially interested in doing business with them. We, East Wind Heavy Industries, will take all their orders. Even if we don’t do them, we will outsource them. I want that punk to have no business at all!”
“Chairman Ning, um… Can I ask why?” Chi Jing-Qiu’s voice was inquisitive.
“Need you ask? China Industrial Group was originally our big client and I had a good relationship with Mu Feng-Jian but this punk ruined it all. I treated him well but he stabbed me in the back. How can I still stand proudly in Hai-Zhu if I don’t repay the favour?” said Ning Yuan-Shan.
“That guy failed to appreciate your kindness so he must suffer,” said Chi Jing-Qiu.
“This is also a needed action from a long-term perspective,” said Ning Yuan-Shan, “That punk has excellent craftsmanship and can process high-precision parts. He’s also got the backing of China Industrial Group now. If we let him get a steady footing in this industry, he will become the leader in Hai-Zhu’s manufacturing industry in the future. You have to remember that he is our enemy now, not our friend. The marketplace is our battleground and he is the enemy. It is of course best to eliminate the enemy as soon as possible.”
“Understood, Chairman Ning.”
“You may leave.”
The audio file stopped playing.
Qin Xiang put his phone away and said, “Ning Yuan-Shan is using his influence to crush us. What are your plans?”
What Ning Yuan-Shan was doing was akin to a siege strategy in ancient times - there was no clashing of soldiers nor weaponry but a cut-off of supplies and water for Thunder Horse Manufacturing. If his strategy worked, Thunder Horse Manufacturing would have no more purchase orders from China Industrial Group once Josef’s intelligent lathe was built. It would collapse without any further prodding.
Xia Lei was silent for a bit before he said, “Ning Yuan-Shan does indeed have a lot of influence in Hai-Zhu. As the chairman of the largest government-backed company, his influence may be even greater than Mayor Hu’s. Those who rely on him for their living would definitely not dare to go against his wishes so it’s normal for us to not receive any purchase orders. It will be useless for us to go to those clients right now. We have no basis for them to change their minds - to put it bluntly, most of the companies in the industry are the peons of the big companies. They’d never risk offending Ning Yuan-Shan, even if we knelt and begged.”
Qin Xiang frowned heavily. “You mean we have no solution to our problem?”
“How can we have no solution? Aren’t we making a path for ourselves? You saw it too - the reaction to the shopping trolleys we’d designed and manufactured is very good,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang let out a strange laugh. “A shopping trolley which sells for 180 yuan? Labour and materials costs total 120; the profit is just 60 yuan. The supermarket sold 32 shopping trolleys today so the profit is under two thousand yuan. Are you kidding me when you say that this is the solution?”
The product sold well but Qin Xiang was not impressed. This was expected as no one would pin hopes on a small product like this to be the basis of company expansion.
Xia Lei smiled. “This is just the beginning. You’ll see.”
“You mean you’re not going to deal with Ning Yuan-Shan?” asked Qin Xiang probingly, “I say we use our own methods to deal with him.”
“Like how we dealt with Huang Yi-Hu?” said Xia Lei.
“Yes. Find his weakness. There’s nothing we can’t steal if we join forces,” said Qin Xiang, “We can blackmail Ning Yuan-Shan once we find his weakness and get him to return our clients. We can even make him give us larger purchase orders.”
Xia Lei shook his head. “You’re wrong.”
“Yes, you’re wrong,” said Xia Lei, “First of all, you haven’t considered what sort of person Ning Yuan-Shan is. He’s not greedy and neither is he a womaniser. He is honest and has practically nothing we can use to blackmail him with. Anti-corruption investigations are in full force now, so why is there not even a rumour of him being corrupt or being involved in illegal activities?”
“This…” Qin Xiang hadn’t thought of that at all.
“Also, remember this - do not think of using illegal methods all the time to solve problems. It may solve the problem but it will also become a potential danger. These accumulated dangers will come back to hurt you one day,” said Xia Lei.
“What then?” Qin Xiang smiled wryly. “Are you really going to rely on the shopping trolleys?”
Xia Lei pointed at the pile of materials on the ground and the half-completed part of the base. “See this? This will be the most advanced lathe in the world. In the whole of China, it can only be made by me. Ning Yuan-Shan wants to stop my climb to success? He’s got one thing wrong - I’m actually flying.”
Qin Xiang paused, then burst into laughter. “He’s stopping your climb, but you’re flying… Hahaha… I don’t know what the hell you’re building but I believe you.”
“All right, go do your work now. I still have a lot to do,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang spread his arms. “Give me a hug. I haven’t given you a hug since you came back from Germany.”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter