Xia Lei was led to the top floor of the office building by Josef, and into an office. He saw the CEO of Rheinmetall AG, a German man with brown hair, in his fifties. He was big and tall, and slightly overweight.
“Mr Mark, this is Xia Lei, from China.” Josef made the introduction to Mark Armin but he left out the most basic honorific of ‘Mr’ from his speech. It seemed that the sight of Annina polishing Xia Lei’s shoes for him, and her saying that she would even use her bum to wipe the soles of Xia Lei’s shoes clean had really irritated Josef.
Mark Armin raised his head and glanced at Xia Lei, but did not get up. “Please have a seat,” he said disinterestedly. He then continued reading a document he had before him, and did not seem like he was going to talk to Xia Lei anytime soon.
“I shall take my leave now, Mr Mark,” said Josef.
Mark Armin only nodded in response.
Xia Lei smiled wryly, and walked towards the sofa. He glanced at the document Mark Amin was reading as he passed by his desk.
The document was the one which the German government had given to Rheinmetall AG about this cooperation. Xia Lei had only glanced at it, but he would not forget its content.
‘It is obviously a mutually beneficial exchange and it has great advantages for both sides, but these Germans are still looking down on the Chinese arms industry. Mark Armin would not be so arrogant otherwise,’ thought Xia Lei to himself.
Mark Armin continued reading the document and ignored Xia Lei completely. Xia Lei was in no hurry either as he sat quietly on the sofa, waiting. He was just plain waiting — Mark Armin's secretary had not come in to offer him a cup of coffee or some other refreshment. From the time that Josef had turned up, to this time with Mark Armin now, it was easy to see that the Germans were actually acting this way on purpose. They were acting like they were a level above Xia Lei, and telling him that Thunder Horse Military Factory, and Thunder Horse Military Factory’s technologies were insignificant to them!
If one looked at Thunder Horse Military Factory and Rheinmetall AG from a market perspective, they were actually a rivals. The former was a dark horse of the Chinese arms industry, which had made a name in the world. Rheinmetall AG was the leader of the German arms industry, so it was not surprising that the CEO Mark Armin of Rheinmetall AG was so arrogant to Xia Lei. He was telling Xia Lei that Chinese military must bow to the German military!
A good ten minutes passed before Mark Armin put away the document. He got up and walked towards Xia Lei. He didn't shake hands with Xia Lei, but sat directly opposite him. "You are that Mr Xia Lei, the founder of Thunder Horse Military Factory, huh?"
"Yes I am, Mr Mark. Nice to meet you,” said Xia Lei. He got up and stretched out his hand to Mark Armin.
Only then did Mark Armin stand and shake hands with Xia Lei, but it was just a perfunctory handshake.
"Mr Mark, when will we be able to talk about cooperation?" Xia Lei went straight to the point.
"There is no rush." Mark Armin gave him a smile. "Let's make small talk first."
"What do you want to talk about?"
"I heard from Josef that you also have a German name, Lukas, and that you worked at Krupp Mak Maschinenbau for a while. You met Miss Annina during that period, didn’t you?"
“Mr Mark, I have no idea about what you’re saying here. This is my first time in Germany. I don’t know who is this Lukas you’re talking about. We may be similar, but I am not him,” said Xia Lei.
Josef and Mark Armin had got some information from some channels but Xia Lei was not worried that any real trouble would come out of it. The matter had passed long ago, and Long Bing and the Bureau 101 agents had done a clean job. There was no evidence or leads which Germany could follow. This was why it was useless even though they guessed that he was indeed that Lukas now.
“All right, let me assume that you are that Lukas. You stole the intelligent lathe technology from Josef, then modified and improved on it. And you’re now using the technology which was originally ours in an exchange for the fighter plane engine technology which you need. You really are a very clever man, Mr Xia,” said Mark Armin.
Xia Lei gave a laugh. "Mr. Mark, your assumption is very interesting. You Germans occupied Qingdao in the Qing Dynasty, and took the material and labor resources from Qingdao to Germany after World War I to help Germany rise rapidly. Should I say that you Germans are very smart as well?"
Mark Armin frowned. He was obviously displeased by how Xia Lei had phrased it.
"Mr. Mark, you Western countries have erected a technology blockade against China, and some of these technologies are not even for military use, but for civilian use. Those technologies could help human development, but you still blocked them. Did you think China will remain at the level of producing socks and shirts forever? Did you think that China would always act as an OEM for you, to produce the socks and shirts which you find disdainful to do? I’m here today, representing the Chinese military industry, to work with you. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Instead, you choose to talk to me about this thing about Lukas, and you’re saying that I stole your technology. If that’s the case, why do you need to do this exchange with us when you already have this technology?" said Xia Lei.
This was Xia Lei’s stance. The other party’s arrogance had pushed him past his limits of tolerance. Since tolerating would not solve anything, Xia Lei was going to pull his mask off and lay his cards on the table!
"Heh heh." Mark Armin laughed hollowly. "Mr Xia, we are just talking casually. Why are you overreacting?"
"I think you should show me some basic respect. I am not here begging you for something. This is exchange is a win-win for both sides," said Xia Lei.
There was a gleam of annoyance in Mark Armin's eyes, and he shrugged. “If that’s the case, then here is no further need to talk about this. How about this — I will get someone to arrange accommodations for you. Let's talk about it again tomorrow."
Xia Lei got up. "It is your right to set any time for the talk, but let me tell you that it is not a must for me to discuss this with you. Your German government and our Chinese government settled on this exchange. The higher-ups would not be the least bit happy if they knew about your attitude, would they?”
"Heh heh. Mr. Xia, this is Germany. The business owners in your country may care about the wants of the political leaders, but I don't," said Mark Armin with a faint, disdainful smile.
"If this is how it’s going to be, then I don't think there is any need to work together. I will write a report to the people on my side, and I will leave for China right now. The people from your German side will soon be returned to Germany too,” said Xia Lei flatly.
Mark Armin was stunned. "What do you mean?"
"What I mean is very simple. It is not a must for me to exchange my technologies for your German fighter plane engine technology. I can contact the Russians, Italians, French, or British, even the Israelis at any time. But the thing you want, you can only obtain from me," said Xia Lei.
This was what was bolstering Xia Lei’s confidence. The XL2500 sniper rifle and the Gust assault rifle were the top their kind in the world. Troops around the world right now all wanted to be equipped with these two infantry weapons, and they could only be produced by Thunder Horse Military Factory. There was also the huge composite intelligent lathe which Xia Lei had built himself. Would Xia Lei even have to worry about not being to exchange this technology for fighter plane engine technology with other countries when he possessed such resources? However, Germany was in a different position. What they wanted to get could only be gotten from Xia Lei.
"Heh heh..." Mark Amin laughed awkwardly and his attitude took a sudden change. "Mr. Xia, please pardon me if I have offended you. There’s no need to let these trivial things destroy the deal we have reached together, is there? I admit that you can probably get what you want from somewhere else, but I assure you that German manufacturing is the best of the best. You should trust in our strength, and trust that cooperating with us is the most sensible choice."
"Am I not standing before you now? I have come to talk with you about cooperation, but you’re telling me to come tomorrow," said Xia Lei.
"No, no, let's talk right now," said Mark Armin. "Please, sit, sit."
The truth was that Mark Armin could ignore the wishes of the relevant officials of the German government, and even could argue with them, but he could not afford the losses which would be incurred by the cancelled deal. If that happened, he would have no way of giving an explanation to the board of Rheinmetall AG, and might even have to step down!
Mark Armin and Xia Lei talked about the cooperation in the office.
The women in the reception room talked too, but they were talking about other things.
"Annina, you are willing to shine shoes for Xia Lei, so are you willing to do the laundry and other things for him too? Including underwear?" Tang Yuyan snuggled up to Annina's shoulders intimately, like they were besties.
"Of course I am." German women were more serious about what they said, so Annina did not think of the motive of Tang Yuyan’s question.
Long Bing gave a cough. "Annina, please think before you speak, not everyone is as naive as you."
Tang Yuyan rolled her eyes at Long Bing and went on talking. "Annina, you are willing to wash Xia Lei’s underwear for him, and Xia Lei is willing to build a house for you, hm?"
"Oh, yeah, it’s a castle." Tang Yuyan smiled very sweetly. "So, are you in that sort of relationship?"
"What sort of relationship?" Annina was abruptly on the alert.
"NO, you are!"
Tang Yuyan was speechless.
Liu Zhengnan was in the same reception room, and he was suffering in his awkwardness. The three women ignored him as always, rarely looking at him and treating him like air. Plus, the topics they were discussing were all so “intimate” that he was uncomfortable whether he listened in or not.
A German woman came in and said very politely, "Ladies and gentlemen, follow me, please. I’ll be taking you to have a look at your accommodations. You can ask me if you need anything, and I will do my best to satisfy your requests.”
Liu Zhengnan was relieved.
Tang Yuyan looked at Long Bing. "Long Bing, can we share a room?"
“No,” said Long Bing.
Tang Yuyan giggled. "Okay, then I am going to share a room with Xia Lei."
Long Bing and Annina both looked at Tang Yuyan. They had moved in unison.
Liu Zhengnan sighed. "Director Xia, you must have been a lady-killer in your last life, huh?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter