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Putting money into a project that everyone believed in was not providing ‘venture capital’… but crowdfunding.
Yes, what Boss Pei had said contradicted common knowledge, but it still caused everyone to reflect deeply. His words contained a profound philosophy.
The people seated around the conference table began to ponder the meaning behind Boss Pei’s words. Although they felt that it made sense, it also felt strange for some reason.
As Pei Qian flipped the flimsy piece of paper around and around, he tried hard to come up with more reasons why the project would succeed. However, he failed.
The contents of this investment proposal were extraordinarily bold and imaginative.
The creator of this project was named Zhang Wang. Although the investment plan had no pictures or personal information, Pei Qian could not help but conjure up a beautiful picture in his head.
Most words in the proposal were used to broadly describe how good shared phone booths would be.
“With the development of mobile communications technology, cell phones have become everyone’s companion. On the other hand, fewer people are using public phone booths—symbols of the city’s public services.
“They’ve been left abandoned and deserted, and they even face the possibility of being demolished altogether!
“One has to admit that this signifies a break in our heritage, a dissipation of our precious memories, the pain that accompanies development, and a loss to every single citizen in the city!”
At that point, Pei Qian felt the urge to make a confused and disgusted expression. However, since so many people were watching him at that moment, he counted on his outstanding acting skills to hold the expression back.
“My aim is to inject internet connectivity into public phone booths in order to give them new life!
“Shared phone booths will be built on the foundation of public phone booths. I aim to use art to recreate the public’s perception of beauty, emotions to trigger the public’s memory, convenience to change the public’s lives, and performative art to show all of society the value of branding!”
Pei Qian could not help but sigh with sorrow. The writing looked quite proficient, and the language was at least comparable to the standards of students in their second year of junior high.
The rest of the plan contained smoky, flowery language. All in all, the entire proposal lacked a concrete plan. There was only one practical detail that was of any use: ‘budget of two hundred thousand yuan’.
At the end of the plan was the cell phone number of the writer—the only way they could contact him.
Pei Qian handed the plan over to He Desheng and said, “Give him a call and ask him when he’ll be free to come down for a chat about his proposal.”
He Desheng took note of the man’s cell phone number and then retreated to the side to make the phone call.
Shortly later, He Desheng returned. “Boss Pei, he said to give him a while. He’s rushing over and will be here in ten minutes.
Pei Qian was speechless.
That quick? I only wanted to make an appointment to meet him face-to-face in the future.
Yet, on further thought, it seemed natural.
The proposals that Dream Realization Ventures had been considering were all supposed to be Jingzhou City’s local projects. Zhang Wang probably lived in Jingzhou, not far from Dream Realization Ventures.
It was logical to guess that Zhang Wang did not have a full-time proper job either. Other investment companies probably did not bother with his proposal at all. Thus, his schedule was probably quite empty.
It was expected that he would be able to come down the moment Dream Realization Ventures contacted him. In fact, it would be surprising if he was busy. Since he was only going to take ten minutes, Pei Qian would wait for him. He retrieved his cell phone and started surfing the internet.
He Desheng and the others used this time to study the investment proposal, looking closely at every single word.
Although the proposal looked unreliable from every angle, something about it must have moved Boss Pei!
Since that was the case, they would probably be able to learn something about Boss Pei’s investment methods once they located that one thing, right?
This project was a small one that would only cost two hundred thousand yuan. That was merely one percent of their previous project. However, as the saying went, tiny clues revealed general trends. Perhaps it would be small projects like this one that would best reflect the brilliance of Boss Pei’s investment strategy.
Everyone at the conference table frowned as they swayed back and forth, between suspicion and self-doubt.
Soon, rushed footsteps could be heard from outside.
“I’m here! I’m here to talk about the project!”
Pei Qian looked up to see a muscular, well-sculpted man rush into the office.
It was already January. The weather had turned cold, and the average temperature was below zero degrees Celsius. Yet, this muscle man was only dressed in a relatively thin, black sweater and jeans. He looked quite energetic and not cold at all.
His sweater, jeans, and sports shoes did not have any brand. However, they looked clean. Obviously, he washed them well.
He was not wearing any accessories like a beanie, a scarf, a mask, or gloves. Even in his sweater and jeans, the man looked huge-he looked like a small hill.
The most eye-catching thing about me was his long, flowy hair. His hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail, and a couple of locks of stray hair framed his face. He looked every bit like an artist.
However, his sage-like vibes were a stark contrast to his muscular figure.
Pei Qian had no words at that moment.
Zhang Wang looked extremely different from what Pei Qian had imagined.
He had thought about how many fraudsters or silly people looked like. However, he would never have expected Zhang Wang to be a muscle man. If Zhang Wang introduced himself as a security guard, nobody would have suspected a thing. Ma Yang whispered in Pei Qian’s ear, “It looks like he ran over here.”
Pei Qian also realized that beads of perspiration had formed on Zhang Wang’s forehead. His face was slightly flushed, and he was panting as well. If he had only run a short distance, he probably would not look like that.
Thus, Pei Qian guessed that he probably ran or cycled a long distance to get here. It was a very cold day. Running or cycling in this weather was not normal behavior.
At that moment, the entire conference room fell silent. Perhaps no one had ever encountered this scene before.
Zhang Wang looked lost as well. He lowered his tone and said again, “I’m here to talk about the project.”
Pei Qian immediately stood up and waved at everyone else. “What are you waiting for? Serve him tea! Come, Mr. Zhang. Please, take a seat.”
Pei Qian gestured for Zhang Wang to take the empty seat across from him, in front of the conference table.
Someone served Zhang Wang a cup of hot tea, which Zhang Wang took with a ‘thanks’. Pei Qian said, “Don’t be nervous. Drink it slowly. It must have been tiring for you to run here. Catch your breath first. We can talk about the project when you’re ready.”
Zhang Wang blew at his tea and then downed the entire cup in one breath. Finally, he looked at the young man across from him, who had been talking to him the entire time.
Obviously, this was the potential investor. However, Mr. Zhang had no idea how to address him.
He Desheng quickly introduced Pei Qian. “This is Boss Pei, the CEO of Tengda Corporation. This is Boss Ma, the CEO of Dream Realization Ventures.”
Zhang Wang looked excited. “Boss Pei, Boss Ma, thank you both for giving me this opportunity! I’ll tell you both about my project-shared umbrellas!
“We always meet with this troublesome situation: we’re out on a rainy day with no umbrella. We could buy one from a random roadside stall, but it would be expensive yet with poor quality. Pei Qian, “?” He raised his hand, gesturing for Zhang Wang to stop talking at once. “Wait, wait, wait. What did you say your project was?”
Zhang Wang paused and then answered, “Shared umbrellas.”
Question marks filled the minds of everyone around the conference table at once.
Pei Qian cleared his throat and said, “…but your proposal is about shared phone booths.”
Zhang Wang was obviously stunned. Laughing awkwardly, he said, “Yes, yes, yes. Shared phone booths is also my project! I’m sorry, Boss Pei. I have too many ideas, and I’m finding it difficult to remember them all.
“Boss Pei, I wonder if you’d be interested in my shared umbrellas project. Do you want to invest in that, too?”
Ma Yang’s eyes lit up with interest. He whispered to Pei Qian, “Brother Qian, that project sounds more reliable than phone booths!”
Pei Qian’s expression darkened.
Shared umbrellas? That project sounds too reliable. Why would I invest in that?
Er, actually, it’s hard to tell if it’ll be reliable, but at least it’ll be useful. Usefulness indicates risk!
Pei Qian shook his head. “I’m not interested in shared umbrellas for now. Tell me more about the shared phone booths.”
“Alright, Boss Pei.” Zhang Wang did not look that disappointed. “I got the idea for shared phone booths because of how much I miss public phone booths…”
Pei Qian had a feeling that Zhang Wang was about to start a long, meaningless monologue. He quickly raised his hand to stop him.
“Alright, alright. You don’t have to introduce the project in so much detail. Your investment proposal is already extremely detailed.”
He Desheng instinctively looked down at the proposal. Was this one-page proposal considered ‘extremely detailed’?
Pei Qian continued speaking. “I’m going to ask you a few simple, key questions. Answer me as simply and directly as you can, alright?”
Zhang Wang nodded. “No problem, Boss Pei!”
Pei Qian asked, “How did you come up with the budget of two hundred thousand yuan?”
Zhang Wang confidently answered, “Boss Pei, I did my calculations. I plan to invest in twenty shared phone booths. The cost of constructing each one would be ten thousand yuan.
“The booth would be 2.4 meters high, made of tinplate, and sprayed with high-temperature paint. It would also have exquisitely carved, retro door handles and wooden flooring. The workmanship would be exquisite and beautiful. The booth itself would cost about five thousand yuan to build.
“Apart from that, an additional five thousand yuan would be required to do up the rest of the booth.
“That would add up to two hundred thousand yuan.”
Once he finished speaking, Zhang Yuan gazed at Pei Qian expectantly.
After some thought, Pei Qian said, “That wouldn’t do.
“You’re going to spend the full two hundred thousand yuan at one shot? How can you not have spare cash on hand when working on a project?
“How about this? I’ll give you five hundred thousand yuan. Think about what else you could add to the phone booths. If all else fails, you can come up with the design for the interior and exterior of the phone booth from scratch!”
Zhang Wang looked elated. “Alright, Boss Pei! No problem!”
Pei Qian thought about something else and said, “Oh yes, the booths must be easy to build and easy to take down. That’s my only requirement.”
Zhang Wang chewed on this for a moment and then nodded. “Alright. I don’t think that’s necessary, but since Boss Pei has spoken, I’ll see to it!”
Pei Qian had no other requirements for this project. All he wanted was for the booths to be easy to take down. That way-once the project failed, he would be able to take the booths down and sell the scraps. He could avoid creating a rubbish disposal problem in the city.
After all, Boss Pei’s only aim was to incur losses. He did not want to become a burden to the city. He had to be a man of character.
Speaking of which, Pei Qian suddenly realized that the System had not issued him a warning against investing in an unreliable project like that. Had five hundred thousand yuan become nothing in the System’s eyes?
After all, the System had already permitted him to spend five million yuan on charity.
Pei Qian could not help but feel sorrowful. System, System… it looks like you still don’t understand the concept of nipping the problem in the bud.
Many five hundred thousands could add up to a lot!
Still, being able to throw five hundred thousand yuan away was a good start!
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