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February 18th, Friday…
School had not reopened, but Pei Qian was already extremely busy.
Tomorrow is Beautiful was going to premiere on Tuesday. However, until now, Pei Qian had not made time to go to Fei Huang Workspace to see how the film had been edited.
The day ahead of Pei Qian was going to be very full. He considered leaving the outcome of the film to fate if he ended up having no time to watch it before the premier.
In any case, there was no point watching the final cut of Tomorrow is Beautiful anymore. Even if he found problems with it, he could not change anything. Now, Pei Qian was on a car to Lincheng.
Lincheng’s ‘Fish-Catching Complex’ was more or less done. It had one Fish-Catching Internet Cafe 2.0 branch in a core commercial district, three Fish-Catching Internet Cafe 1.0 branches in lower-tier commercial districts, a Fish-Catching Take-Out branch, twenty Upwind Courier stations, and a huge warehouse for ROF Computer-Installation with four distribution points around the Fish-Catching Internet Cafe branches.
They had been working on the entire set of branches for two months, and things had finally come to a close recently.
Today was going to be the first day of operations. Pei Qian wanted to look at how well-received Fish-Catching Internet Cafe would be in Lincheng City.
It shouldn’t be that well-received, right?
Fish-Catching Internet Cafe, Fish-Catching Take-Out, and ROF Computer-Installation were considered more expensive brands, and Lincheng’s purchasing power was quite low. Pei Qian didn’t think the businesses would appeal to them.
As for Upwind Logistics… he was sure everyone would like it, but it would not generate profits.
Of course, there were other possible outcomes… less desirable outcomes.
If they happened, Pei Qian would have to plan ahead for rainy days and think hard about where he could spend the additional income.
While in the car, Pei Qian sneezed. After that, as if recalling something, he whipped out his cell phone and called He Desheng. “Why does it seem like ‘Top Student, Come Quick’ has become… more popular?”
On the other end of the line, He Desheng sounded obviously confused. “Boss Pei, I’m not sure either…”
Before this, Pei Qian had asked He Desheng how he could make other investors lose confidence in the project. He Desheng answered ‘sell the shares’, and Pei Qian deeply agreed with the suggestion.
Pei Qian had also told Li Shi, in no uncertain terms, to start selling his shares as well. He had done that in the hopes of damaging investors’ confidence.
Yet, a strange thing happened: all the shares that Pei Qian had sold had ended up being eaten up by various other investors. It was almost as if none of them felt fearful at all.
Li Shi had not even sold his shares. Pei Qian could not figure out what he was thinking.
Could it be that Li Shi doesn’t believe me?
…it’s very likely. This isn’t the first time either.
What made Pei Qian more anxious was that money was still being poured into Top Student, Come Quick’s application, so that its figures and popularity were increasing!
With each passing day that things didn’t slow down, Pei Qian felt more unsure.
After much consideration, Pei Qian finally said reluctantly, “Keep selling, then…” There was no other way. Pei Qian had a bad feeling that if he allowed things to carry on like that, there would be a huge problem.
He had to sell his shares as soon as possible so that the other investors’ confidence would be affected. Then, all of them would sell their own shares as well!
Even if he reaped profits from the sale of his shares, he had to suck it up. That was the only way to cut his losses.
“Alright, Boss Pei,” replied He Desheng. “Should we sell them all or stop once we hit a certain level?”
Pei Qian paused to think. No matter what, they could not sell all their shares.
That would turn the investment into a purely profitable one, right? Thus, Pei Qian replied, “Well… We should keep at least twenty percent. Don’t go any lower than that! What’s more, you should only sell a maximum of five percent of the shares in each transaction. Don’t sell more than that.”
Pei Qian had been holding close to sixty percent of the shares in the company before this. After several transactions, he had less than fifty percent left. Still, he had a majority and controlling share.
However, he would hit 20% several transactions later.
Pei Qian thought that it would not matter if he lost the controlling share in the business. Once everyone else sold their shares and the project collapsed, Pei Qian would buy all of his shares back and regain control. Then, he would be able to continue incurring losses. No one would fight for shares with him after the project collapsed. He could buy the unwanted shares and then sell them to a couple of heroic buyers who would be happy to take over them.
Once he had about twenty percent left, he would earn less and still be able to maintain his place as a shareholder. That meant he would have the right of first refusal for the sale of shares in the future.
He Desheng could not understand what Boss Pei was trying to achieve, but he was used to it by now. Thus, he did not ask any more questions.
“Alright, Boss Pei. Don’t worry. I’ll get it done.”
After hanging up, Pei Qian thought about other irksome projects.
For instance, the shared phone booths…
At first, Pei Qian had given up fighting for this project. However, he had heard some good news recently.
Zhang Wang had spent all the revenue generated by the shared phone booths into manufacturing even more. He had plans to increase capacity in Jingzhou’s shopping malls and set up more shared phone booths.
However, the new shared phone booths were not developing as smoothly as the first batch!
The reason for this was simple: there were only so many shopping malls with especially high traffic in Jingzhou City. Even if Zhang Wang continued to create shared phone booths, there would only be so many people who would want to experience them!
That had been the only good news that Pei Qian had heard recently.
On top of that, Zhongdian Chinese Network was showing signs of improvement as well. At the very least, the writers in the authors’ class were uploading fewer and fewer chapters.
As for the two games departments and the cell phone business…
Pei Qian did not have time to think about them for now.
“Hello, Boss Pei. I am the one in charge of Fish-Catching Internet Cafe in Lincheng City. My name is Xiao Peng.”
A bright, young fellow with a crew cut opened Pei Qian’s car door and respectfully introduced himself. Pei Qian shook Xiao Peng’s hand as they left the shopping mall’s parking lot together and took the elevator up. This was the biggest shopping mall in Lincheng and the core of the Fish-Catching Complex here. Fish-Catching Internet Cafe 2.0 was located on the fifth floor of this shopping mall.
“How’s the current situation?” Pei Qian casually asked.
Xiao Peng smiled and said proudly, “Boss Pei, it’s very good!”
Pei Qian was stunned. “Huh?”
Xiao Peng did not seem to have noticed the astonishment on Boss Pei’s face at all. Instead, he continued speaking in a proud tone. “The four Fish-Catching Internet Cafe branches, Fish-Catching Take-Out, Upwind Logistics, and the like have all started operations today. We’re following your instructions strictly and avoiding any promotional events.
“Still, Fish-Catching Internet Cafe’s reputation and image are obviously well-known to everyone. People were already queuing at the entrance before we opened for business. Now, the internet cafe is almost full!
“Fish-Catching Take-Out is proving to be unexpectedly popular as well. The working adults, especially, choose Fish-Catching Take-Out for their meals during work. It seems like the businesses are more well-received here than in Jingzhou!
“It goes without saying that Upwind Logistics and ROF Computer-Installation are doing well, too. The orders are going through the roof. It’s a good thing that our warehouses are all stocked, and we won’t run out…”
Xiao Peng spoke frankly and confidently, obviously proud of those results.
Lastly, as if afraid that Boss Pei would think he was trying to claim credit, Xiao Peng added, “Of course, this is all because Boss Pei has laid a good foundation in Jingzhou. That’s why the businesses became so well-known in Lincheng. This is the perfect illustration of the saying, ‘Where water flows, a canal is formed’!”
Pei Qian’s mind was filled with question marks.
Before Pei Qian could speak, the elevator arrived with a ‘ding’.
All the seats in the Fish-Catching Internet Cafe were taken up, and the waiters were shuttling back and forth, serving various drinks. The atmosphere inside looked very lively.
There was no sign of an opening promotion or sale!
Even so, the internet cafe was filled to the brim. Several people were even waiting for empty seats in the resting area!
Pei Qian felt light-headed.
The worst-case scenario that Pei Qian had been prepared for was that the internet cafe would be seventy percent full and that they would start making profits on their first day.
He would never have thought that reality would turn out worse than his own imaginations. Lincheng’s Fish-Catching Internet Cafe looked even more popular than Jingzhou!
What’s more, according to Xiao Peng, it was not just Fish-Catching Internet Cafe. All the businesses in the Fish-Catching Complex were doing well!
Pei Qian was at a loss as to what to do.
Seeing Boss Pei become speechless, Xiao Peng felt awkward. He quickly said, “Boss Pei, I have to say that your decision to enter Lincheng was absolutely correct!
“Lincheng’s economy is developing slower than other cities’. That’s why a few famous restaurants and entertainment businesses enter the city.
“Fish-Catching Take-Out doesn’t stand out in Jingzhou. However, in Lincheng, it immediately became a high-end take-out brand. Its packaging is exquisite, and the food is healthy. Anyone who consumes Fish-Catching Take-Out in their office immediately looks a class higher than the rest. That’s why it’s so popular among the working adults!
“On the other hand, Lincheng is completely lacking in high-end internet cafes, and Fish-Catching Internet Cafe fills that gap perfectly. It’s even located in the core commercial district. People nearby have the highest purchasing power in Lincheng. That’s why the internet cafe is a hit!
“I can only say that Boss Pei’s decision to venture into a sinking market was very wise. The outcome is unexpectedly good!”
Pei Qian was speechless.
His throat closed up.
Pei Qian had realized that everything Xiao Peng said was true. No matter how low the level of economic development was in a city, there would always be a group of richer people.
Places like that normally lacked high-end restaurants and entertainment facilities.
It was the same a few years ago when what foreigners saw as fast food brands entered the local market. Within a short time, the locals saw those brands as high-end and started rushing like ducks to try them.
It was only a few years later, when China’s economy developed further, that those brands looked ordinary to the locals. They became nothing more than fast food brands again.
Now, the same thing was happening to the Fish-Catching Complex in Lincheng. Fish-Catching Internet Cafe, Fish-Catching Take-Out, and the other businesses’ goods and services were coincidentally priced below the upper limits of what Lincheng’s rich could afford.
At the same time, they were presentable and healthy. Their value was obviously higher than other brands. That was why they were so well-received among Lincheng’s residents!
Pei Qian stood at the entrance of Fish-Catching Internet Cafe, remaining silent for two full minutes.
Then, he turned around and walked away.
Xiao Peng was stunned. “Huh? Boss Pei, are you leaving? Aren’t you going to see how the other internet cafes are doing?”
With his expression dark, Pei Qian replied, “There’s no need!”
Xiao Peng could not help but feel emotional. “Boss Pei is really swift and decisive. With a single look, he could tell that victory is his. He doesn’t even want to look any further. “Everyone always says that Boss Pei is like a general. Today, I’ve seen for myself that it’s true.”
Xiao Peng watched as Boss Pei stepped into the elevator and then quickly followed suit. Finally, he walked Boss Pei to his car.
“Boss Pei, you’re welcome at Lincheng to offer guidance any time!” Pei Qian forced a smile, boarded the car, and then left. He had traveled all the way to Lincheng, thinking that even the worst-case scenario could not be that bad.
He would never have thought that the Fish-Catching Complex was bound to fail from the moment he selected Lincheng City.
This was infuriating!
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