The waiter served the food but no one touched the chopsticks. The people had not come for the food, and everyone knew it.
The atmosphere in the room grew heavy again after the waiter left.
This was a negotiation. Xia Lei knew well what their motives were. He didn’t speak and just waited for them to make their move.
“Ahem.” Mu Jianfeng gave a cough. He was finally making his move. “Xia Lei, you were invited here today because we still want to discuss the matter of the military factory with you. You don’t mind, do you?”
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “Elder Mu, do you care if I mind or not? Speak, no need to hold back.”
Mu Jianfeng was calm and not angry at all. “Before I speak of it, I’ll introduce some friends to you.” He then introduced them one by one. “This is Mr Ma Binma, a leader of ICBC; Mr Hu Chenghu, leader of the Agricultural Bank of China; Mr Wu Shengxin, leader of the Bank of China and Mr Yao Yifu, leader of CCB.”
The people being introduced nodded in greeting to Xia Lei and he nodded back. Xia Lei still looked calm but he was full of dread. Mu Jianfeng had brought the leaders of the four major banks here, right when he most needed funds for the expansion of Thunder Horse Military Factory. Mu Jianfeng’s motives were as clear as day!
Ye Kun looked gloatingly at Xia Lei as Mu Jianfeng did the introductions. He did not hold back his schadenfreude - You signed so many contracts so you need money to upgrade your military factory, don’t you? I’ll make sure you can’t afford it!
As expected, Mu Jianfeng said after the introductions, “Xia Lei, you’ve signed so many contracts. You must need to expand your military factory and that would cost a lot, wouldn’t it? Look, I’ve invited some leaders of banks here for a meal together. You can put forth your financing requests if any. We all know each other here, so we’ll definitely help you if we can.”
Xia Lei didn’t even bother mentioning it because he knew that he would be ridiculed on top of being refused a loan. Why even open himself to that when he knew that it was coming?
Tang Tianlong spoke up, “Elder Mu, we should eat since this is a dinner. Let’s eat. Business can wait for office hours.”
Tang Yuyan also added, “Nn, I’m quite hungry too. Why aren’t you guys touching your chopsticks?”
The Tangs were evidently on Xia Lei’s side.
Mu Jianfeng chuckled and picked his chopsticks up. “Right, right. Eat. We can chat as we eat.” As he spoke, he gave the ICBC leader, Ma Binma, a look.
Ma Binma gave a cough and said slowly, “Our bank has recently seen a half percentage point increase in bad debt. Ah, I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s so troublesome - I don’t dare to approve of either big loans or small loans.”
The leader of the Bank of China, Wu Shengxin, also added, “Our situation is similar to yours. Ah, the economy is not good now. I have to send a notice out tomorrow to tell my subordinates to review loan applicants carefully.”
The leaders of CCB and the Agricultural Bank of China also said their piece, and the meaning behind their words was the same as the other two. The four of them were all indicating the same thing to Xia Lei - Don’t you think of getting a loan!
The headquarters of these banks were all in Jingdu, so it was easy enough for Mu Jianfeng to invite these bank leaders to a meal to have a few words. This move of his was akin to grabbing Xia Lei by the throat and not letting him have anything to eat; he was going to starve Xia Lei!
This move was targeted at Xia Lei and Tang Tianlong at the same time. Mu Jianfeng was hinting to Tang Tianlong: I’ve already given my greetings to the four major banks and they will not approve of any loans to Xia Lei. The capital acquisition you’re helping him with will flop and I am your opposition!
Tang Tianlong was a smart man too and it wasn’t possible that he would be unaware of Mu Jianfeng’s intentions. His expression turned ugly. This was outright bullying!
Mu Jianfeng was still putting on an act. “Really, you guys. I actually wanted Xia Lei to have some help from you but you’re all saying how tough it is. How insincere. Xia Lei, a toast for the bank leaders, perhaps? I’ll help you persuade them again.”
The meal had begun but no one had poured any alcohol or raised a toast. How could this happen at a table with big bosses? Rarely.
Xia Lei did not move.
Pour them alcohol? He’d pour them piss!
“Xia Lei!” Ye Kun could not hold back anymore and he thundered, “Elder Mu is talking to you! Don’t you hear him? All these leaders are here at a table. Telling you to give them a toast is because they acknowledge you but you’re keeping quiet. What is the meaning of this? You fail to appreciate kindness!”
Tang Yuyan grew angry too. “Watch your words!”
“Yuyan! Hush!” yelled Tang Tianlong.
“Dad!” Tang Yuyan was very obviously discontent.
Tang Tianlong gave her a cold glare. “You, go home.”
“I…” Tang Yuyan had never dared to go against her father’s wishes but she did not want to leave Xia Lei alone here to suffer this treatment.
“Go home!” Tang Tianlong yelled again.
Tang Yuyan left her seat huffily and turned to walk out the door of the private room.
Tang Tianlong sighed and did not speak again. He wanted to help Xia Lei, but he could not. Even more so could he not let Tang Yuyan offend two leaders in the military industry, Mu Jianfeng and Ye Kun, because of Xia Lei. If that happened, it was not just his task that would fail - the Tangs would be dragged into it too.
Xia Lei was aware of all of these too, so he did not hold anything against Tang Tianlong. As the head of household, Tang Tianlong’s main priority was to look after the welfare of his family. Xia Lei was an outsider and even if he became Tang Yuyan’s boyfriend, would the Tang sect start a fight with two leaders in the military industry because of him? Obviously not. People were realistic.
Tang Tianlong’s approach to the situation seemed to please Mu Jianfeng and a faint smile appeared in the corners of his mouth. “What’s with you today, Xia Lei? You’re not saying anything.”
Xia Lei gave Mu Jianfeng a look and opened his mouth to say, “Elder Mu, I understand what you mean, and I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to kill me off by cutting off the avenues by which I can get capital, right? This will be troublesome for me, true, but it’s not like I have no solution. What else do you want me to say about this situation?”
Mu Jianfeng smiled. “Since you’ve put it like that then there’s no need for me to beat about the bush.” He paused, then said, “This time it’s not Hanwu Weapons buying your military factory but China Industrial Group.”
Xia Lei smiled too. “Must I sell if you want to buy?”
“You will sell. Like the last time, when you sold that intelligent lathe to us,” said Mu Jianfeng.
“I fell for it once. You think I’d fall for it again? You see me as that big of a fool?” said Xia Lei.
“I’ve never seen you as a fool. I tell everyone who asks about you that you are a smart man,” said Mu Jianfeng. “And if you’re smart enough you should know the status of China Industrial Group and the authority we hold in the military industry. Us coming to buy your military factory is its best recourse. You can make a huge sum of money and leave the military sector. You can then go for greener pastures in other industries.”
‘I will not let you grow in the military sector!’ was what he was saying.
“Not selling.” Xia Lei said just two words; resolute and decisive.
Mu Jianfeng’s eyebrows went up slightly. “Xia Lei, if I can buy your intelligent lathe then I can buy your military factory. You should know full well that the military industry is not for just anyone to enter. Your XL2500 is excellent indeed but it is just a gun. It will be very difficult for you to expand and grow your business. Sell the military factory to China Industrial Group and we can do it. This is also for the good of the nation. I think the higher-ups will approve too.”
Xia Lei snorted. “Elder Mu, forced buying is robbery and you’re likening this behaviour to ‘good for the nation’? I am impressed.”
Mu Jianfeng’s expression chilled. It seemed he had not expected Xia Lei to be so unappreciative. He did not pull off his friendly mask previously at the golf course because it had been Ye Kun, director of Hanwu Weapons, who was leading the bid to buy Xia Lei’s Thunder Horse Military Factory. This time, it was him, Mu Jianfeng, who was doing the buying. He had imagined that Xia Lei would be unwilling and ask for a large sum of money, but finally cave in the end and allow him to take Thunder Horse Military Factory and the designs for the XL2500 in the end. He was not prepared for Xia Lei calling him a robber in front of so many people!
“Xia Lei!” Mu Jianfeng held his anger in check but his tone changed. “I’ll be direct. You cannot get a loan and I have the ability to get the military to reduce your purchase orders too. You are a fish in a pond. How will you survive if I drain the water in your pond? Stop being ungrateful and sell. 5,000,000,000 - I’ll give it to you right away.”
Xia Lei started chuckling.
“What are you laughing at?” said Mu Jianfeng coldly.
“I’m laughing at you senile old goats. Your ways of thinking have not just fossilised - even your brains don’t work well anymore,” laughed Xia Lei.
“Xia Lei!” Ye Kun slapped the table violent. “Curb that impudence!”
Xia Lei sneered, “I’m impudent, so what? Hit me then. Come on, hit me.”
“Ye Kun, let him continue,” barked Mu Jianfeng.
Ye Kun glowered at Xia Lei but quieted down.
“Xia Lei, I am indeed advanced in years but tell me how I have fossilised thoughts and how my brain isn’t working well, hm?” said Mu Jianfeng.
“It’s the era of globalisation now. There’s more than the few banks in China, isn’t there? Let’s take loans for example. Let’s put aside the matter of you blocking my avenues to a loan. The situation now is one where I can go overseas and let out some farts and some foreign bank will naturally come contact me and offer me a loan with no prodding. Other than the foreign banks there are also foreign venture capital funds. Is there any doubt that I would not get funding with how the XL2500 is leading in its performance?”
The leaders of banks couldn’t help exchanging glances after hearing Xia Lei’s words.
Mu Jianfeng and Ye Kun’s expressions turned ugly. It was true. They could use their connections to hinder Xia Lei from getting funding in China but there was no stopping the foreign loan providers. The XL2500 had made an international splash at the Russian light weapons exhibition, rocking the whole world. It would be as easy as pie for Xia Lei to get overseas funding!
Xia Lei laughed. “Now let’s talk about the purchase orders. You guys do have the ability to get the military to place less orders and buy more rubbish from Hanwu Weapons. There’s the most advanced sniper rifle in China and the military’s not stocking up on those but buying rubbish from Hanwu Weapons instead - How would the higher-ups go about handling the matter once they find out? You’d better be prepared to deal with the consequences of that investigation. One more thing - even if not a single order comes domestically for the guns I still have orders from overseas. Can you stop those purchase orders too? You guys think you’re gods?”
The private room was so quiet one could hear a pin drop.
At that moment, the door to the private room was suddenly opened, and a beautiful face appeared before them.
“It’s just some billions. Why go to the banks? I’ll give it to you,” she said.Previous Chapter Next Chapter