“Sss…” “Ahh…” “How bold!”
At once, the entire auction hall was filled with the sounds of gasps of shock. Even Qin Ye couldn’t help but look up abruptly at the Yin spirit making his presentation right now.
Jobs were a tricky situation. Truth be told, the 4,500 jobs that Qi Jun had envisioned could easily be considered the upper limits of such an industry. After all, they had considered the corresponding coffee chains back in the mortal realm, such as the Star Coffee chain, and yet they had no more than 150 stores in the largest cities. With 10 staff members helming each store, each city would probably only be able to account for at most 2,000 jobs, give and take.
So the fact that Qi Jun was prepared to commit to a figure of 4,500 jobs naturally meant that he was prepared to open 150 stores in each of Hell’s cities right now! Admittedly, new drinks stores would naturally be a hot commodity, and he might be able to push the boundaries a little bit, and perhaps edge towards 200 or perhaps even 250 stores. But… what about afterwards?
This was coffee after all.
What would happen after Hell’s unification? What would happen after they discover good tea that could rival the attractiveness of such coffee specialty stores?
What were they going to do with that many coffee specialty stores?
Qi Jun was clearly looking at the long run, and it was his personal belief that nobody could possibly argue with the power of market forces, supply and demand. But what gives?! How can this man claim to be able to provide 50,000 jobs all at once?! And possibly even more?!
“50,000…” Qin Ye’s eyes gleamed brightly as he glanced at the young man. Then, with the quick wave of his hands, the documents held up by both Qi Jun and the young man rose into the air and flew straight to the front of the stage. It was only then that Qin Ye nodded at the young man.
“Yanluo Qin.” The young man took a deep breath and spoke with great determination in his eyes, “We’re not merely thinking of setting up coffee specialty stores. Let’s get this clear, we’re going to be setting up shops for drinks. In the future, we expect there not only to be coffee, but even traditional teas or fruit teas. And to that end, we hope to be… a vertically-integrated company.”
“Haaa--...” The rest of the entrepreneurs gasped deeply. They finally understood the depths of this young man’s ambitions!
Vertical integration meant that they would not only be covering the retail aspects of the business, but everything leading up to that, including the supply and distribution of all raw materials, research and development, seasonings and garnishing, and even the orchards!
Qi Jun immediately understood the young man’s intentions, and he shook his head with a bitter smile, “You want to monopolize everything and cover the supply and distribution routes? That means we wouldn’t actually be competitors.”
But the young man smiled and shook his head, “The time isn’t ripe for the full extent of such plans just yet, because we can’t say exactly how long it will take for these plants to be ripe for the harvest…”
Just then, Fei Liming interjected with his clarification, “Five years.”
“Both coffee shrubs and milk bottle trees would be ready for harvest within five years of cultivation.”
The young man nodded, “That is to say, within the first five years, the orchards would definitely be at a loss. Therefore, we’ll need the profits from the Have A Cup retail stores to keep us afloat. Admittedly, I believe that with King Yanluo Qin’s foresight, Hell has probably already set aside a portion of the fruits for the government to do their own internal tests and experimentation with the seeds. And it’s only once they have seen results that they would plan to push for the cultivation of these crops. But if we want to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality drinks, it’s only natural to control your own orchards.”
“After all, it’s only when you control your own source of raw materials that you can adjust the taste of your drinks to satisfy the taste buds of your customers. And to that end, with 1 tons of coffee shrub seeds and the seeds from 5,000 tons of milk bottle fruits to be sown and cultivated, I’m personally of the view that not even 50,000 Yin spirits would suffice. Naturally, the profit of the retail stores would be of the utmost importance to sustain the development of these orchards. Therefore…”
He bowed apologetically towards Qi Jun, “I’m sorry, but we are indeed competitors.”
The eyes of the Yin spirits seated around the auction hall flickered wildly.
Qi Jun had stuck to his guns of what he knew of the mortal realm. But unfortunately, the rigidity in his thinking meant that he failed to consider what he could do with the coffee shrub seeds and the fruits of the milk bottle trees.
Meanwhile, the other entrepreneurs couldn’t help but sigh in exclamation - These new-age entrepreneurs are truly fearsome. Who would’ve thought that the deeply-entrenched big wig of the Wawo Group would be unseated by a young upstart?
That’s right. The entrepreneurs knew that this round of auction was over. It was a fight between 5,000 jobs and 50,000 jobs. Hell wasn’t blind to its own interests.
Qin Ye stared at the young man intently. That’s right, truth be told, Hell had received not 1 ton of coffee shrub seeds, but 30,000 tons!
In Hell’s prudence, they naturally chose not to put all of their eggs into one basket. Qin Ye reckoned that someone would be willing to do something with these raw materials, such as planting and cultivating them, rather than processing them to be sold in retail stores. That said, not even Qin Ye expected someone to step up so quickly!
“Good. Excellent. Please wait patiently for our decision to be made.” He didn’t give any overt confirmation, but the Yin spirits around clearly understood Qin Ye’s underlying message from his tone of voice.
Their eyes gleamed wildly, and each of them began to consider how their own businesses could be vertically integrated as well.
Back on the third row. Two middle-aged men glanced at each other, and the slightly plump Yin spirit on the left immediately whispered, “Old Bai, we’re proposing a bike-sharing business to be launched as a bicycle company, but the truth of the matter is that we can vertically integrate ourselves to the iron ore industry as well as the rubber industry! Both of these are raw materials integral to our bike-sharing business!”
“This could greatly strengthen the depth of our business to be proposed! We don’t have to limit ourselves to a single product! After all, we live in an era when industry disruption is key! The ones who can think out of the box will take the cake! Think about those days in the 80’s and 90’s when new products were released to the contempt of all naysayers! Look at how large Ashmound City is! Our bicycle idea will definitely take off! And we can naturally use the profits gained to our advantage!”
And then, from there, they would have the capital to tap into resource veins and process steel and rubber, and even become the market leader of all derivative products!
Unfortunately, the Yin spirit on the right sighed softly, “It’s too late.”
“That young man can’t be the only one who’d thought about something like that. Don’t forget that we’ve already submitted our written plans to the authorities before this auction, and these afterthoughts haven’t been included in those plans of ours. Do you think the government will feel safe entrusting us the right to their resources based entirely on a plan that was added on the fly?”
He glanced around the hall. It felt almost as though he was in a tank full of sharks. And yet, the orcas hiding amidst the sharks were already emerging, waiting to devour any shark they would encounter. The orcas had keenly captured the essence of all materials offered to them, and made full use of everything from the onset. Naturally, anyone who had failed to recognize the opportunities presented to them would never be granted a second chance by the government right now.
We can only pray right now that we don’t encounter any orcas…
And so, the auction continued.
Fortunately, orcas like the young CEO of the Have A Cup Group were few and far between. The next few presentations revealed no clear winners.
And with that, five sets of auctions quickly passed.
Dingxin Technology and Dasan Chemical were both competing for 1.4 million tons of nebula steel, lysine, and other kinds of chemicals and materials.
Fengyun Group and Jiangnan Group were both competing for various types of jewellery and artwork of all kinds.
Meanwhile, the Tang Dynasty Group and Yinding Entertainment were competing for the right to musical instruments and other arts-related instruments and products.
After five rounds of auctions, Fei Liming bowed slightly, “And now, we’ll take an intermission of 10 minutes. Please return right where you are.”
The first round of winners will be announced soon…
Every single entrepreneur who had participated in the auctions thus far remained right where they were, eagerly awaiting the results. Even Qi Jun, who had clearly been crushed by his competitor, couldn’t help but cross his hands at the table with a grave expression on his face.
He was praying in his heart. He was praying for a miracle to happen, because he knew full well that the person who won the bid would very likely be able to develop his company into a unicorn in the industry!
The next auction was clearly going to be more difficult. No, in fact, there was a possibility that Hell might not even need to organize an auction like this ever again.
Not a single Yin person left the room, and ten minutes came and went quickly. Then, a middle-aged man dressed in a smart suit finally stepped out from backstage with a stack of documents for Fei Liming’s perusal. At once, countless eyes fell onto him. Everyone waited with bated breaths.
Calm down… calm down… Fei Liming felt like a celebrity right now. Even then, he forcefully repressed the feeling of intense excitement in his heart as he unfolded the docket, “Technology category. Winner of the bid goes to… Dingxin Technology.”
Dingxin Technology’s chairman Su Menglai shut his eyes and sighed deeply with relief as he slumped back into his seat.
Meanwhile, his opponent, the representative of Dasan Chemical, also shut his eyes quietly and sighed softly. However, everything was done in despondency.
“Entertainment category. Winner of the bid goes to… Tang Dynasty Group.”
“Art category. Winner of the bid goes to… Feng Yun Group.”
“Food and beverage category. Winner of the bid goes to… the Have A Cup Group.”
Qi Jun chortled slightly, and then threw his head back and gazed blankly at the ceiling. Meanwhile, the young man who had competed with him threw his fist into the air. Had it not been for Qin Ye’s presence right now, he might well have smashed fist into the table in joy and celebration.
Excellent! I’ve won the bid!
The netherflames in his eyes danced wildly. It wasn’t as though he hadn’t experienced auctions like this before. That said, this was the first time he had ever felt this nervous about the results.
After all, the implications of this win was far too great. These auctions meant so much more than the right to use resources. It was essentially the screening of future unicorn companies in Hell, and the competition was stiff. The slightest mistake here would mean the difference between the inception of an industry leader and a fall to obscurity.
Tap, tap… He tapped his fingers anxiously on the table, almost as though he could already see the bright gleaming road open up ahead of his company.
40 million HL in loans, in exchange for my commitment of 50,000 jobs in future, and the repayment of the same 40 million HL in five years time… I can do this!
Qin Ye took in everyone’s expressions and nodded his head gently.
Very good. With this much riding on the line, I can rest assured knowing that these folks are going to give it their all.
And then, five years later… Hell is going to usher in a new age of prosperity! The citizens will lead richer lives! And once that happens, we’ll finally be able to launch other industries, such as medical care, education, insurance and others!
After all, who would go for these things when they can’t even cover their basic necessities? Satisfy their needs, and then feed them their wants. Once these companies have been launched, the citizens will have decent jobs, and they’ll finally have more spending power to stoke the flames of our economy!
“We’re getting there.” Qin Ye stood up. With him around, the entrepreneurs would never dare to act too boldly, but that would defeat the purposes of such auctions to begin with! His job here was done, and there was no longer any need for him to stay around and be an eyesore around these parts.
“King Yanluo Qin will be taking his leave first. The auction shall continue in his absence.” Wang Chenghao announced just like a chief eunuch in imperial times, and then vanished promptly with Qin Ye in a gust of nethergale.
As soon as they did, the rest of the entrepreneurs glanced at each other sheepishly.
I’m afraid that this might be the only chance we have right now…
King Yanluo has left, and that means that there’s no longer any cause for concern! We’ll use any means possible! Let’s disrupt the industries as we know it back in the mortal realm!
So what if it’s not written in the written documents submitted to Hell? We’ve got to give it our best shot, no matter what it takes!
There’s nothing to lose! Conversely, we’ll only regret it if we don’t give it our best now!
With that, Fei Liming finally announced the commencement of the second round of auctions. At once, two figures stood up.
“Greenland Group. We will create in excess of 30,000 jobs for the entire nation! We’ve taken a good look at the resources to be had. There are 6 kinds of meats and poultry and 20 types of vegetables listed on the resources traded, all of which are preserved with special technology from the netherworld. We don’t just want to do catering. We want to be the biggest catering group of Hell, and we plan to be vertically integrated, serving our customers straight from the breeders and farm to the table!”
“Makino Group. We’re planning to create 50,000 jobs for Hell! Yes, these plans weren’t set out in detail in our documents, but we absolutely can deliver on our promise! The Makino Group is one of the leading chain of restaurants in northern Cathay, while the Greenland Group… I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of them. We’ve got a wealth of experience in farming and agriculture, including farm management, and I’ve been personally overseeing their operations until the final moment I hit my coffin back in the mortal realm. I know these haven’t been set out in the plans we’ve submitted, but I can assure you that nothing is impossible!”
Qin Ye could no longer hear the clamor in the auction hall.
He was already satisfied with the state of the Great Sale’s main events. He couldn’t be too greedy. So long as he could achieve what he had originally set out to do, he would be satisfied.
That said, there were two other matters to attend to.
He appeared inside a huge warehouse at the docks that spanned tens of thousands of meters from end to end. A number of Alkebulan crew members and record-keeping officers stood on both sides of the warehouse.
It was now time to harvest the fruits of the relationship between nations.
“Prefect Qin, shall we begin?” A dark-skinned Yin spirit stepped forward and bowed respectfully. The scarlet netherflames in her eyes flickered with great excitement, “I can’t wait to see what exquisite artwork you have in store for us. You might not know this, but Hell’s silence in the last century has caused demand for Cathayan artwork to surge to new heights, while the supply has naturally fallen substantially! Ah, where are my manners! I’ve forgotten to introduce myself! I am the Chief Advisor of Art for the Coalition of Alkebulan Underworlds, Nadia.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter