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49 Going to China 5

 The dishes which Mr. Byeon ordered started coming out.

Gun-Ho's table was quickly filled with all sorts of dainties: fried pork, deep-fried fish, seasoned vegetables, steamed stuff, and etc.

"All these dishes cost only 30,000 won with which you can have pork belly for two people in my Korean restaurant. These dishes are commonplace here, daily food for Chinese people. On the other hand, Korean food we serve in my restaurant is special food for them."

After drinking three to four glasses of Kaoliang wine Mr. Byeon ordered, Gun-Ho felt drunk. That wine was 50 percent alcohol by volume. Once Gun-Ho became a bit drunk, Mr. Byeon dragged his chair closer to Gun-Ho and said,

"What do you think? Do you like my Korean restaurant?"

"I do actually like your restaurant. But I am not sure if I could make profits with it."

"You won't lose money. Usually, I make over 3,000 Yuan per day. Sometimes I make more than 5,000 Yuan. I will show you the daily sales report tomorrow."

"3,000 daily sales will make 90,000 Yuan per month. Then how much money does actually fall into your hands?"

"The ingredients cost 30,000, then 15,000 for labor, and 5,000 of maintenance fee, and no rent since we paid all up front."

"Then 40,000 Yuan is what you actually make?"

"That sounds right. I put aside 25,000 out of 40,000 for the payment of the restaurant for the next period. So I actually take 15,000 Yuan per month."

"If applying the current exchange rate of 120:1, it would be about 1,800,000 won."

"That is the least you could make. Our daily sales are often exceeding 5,000 Yuan. So you can assume the monthly profit would be 3,000,000 won per month."


Gun-Ho still thought the maximum profit he could take from this restaurant would be 2 million won per month. 2 million won per month wouldn't be enough for Mr. Byeon given his personal situation; he must have a family to support.

"How many family members do you have if you don't mind me asking?"

"I have two children. One of them is studying in the U.S.A."

"That must be costly."

"Whew, actually that is my main reason why I want to sell the restaurant. When I had an office job as a manager, I used to make 7 million won per month. After spending 4 million on living expenses, I could still save some money for the future. However, with 2 million income from this restaurant, I can't even imagine saving money. I am planning to try a new business after returning to Korea."

"What do you want to do in Korea? Starting a business in Korea will cost you more."

"I have a condo in Sadang Town in Seoul. It is worth 600 million won now. I bought that condo with my entire career earnings. I think I can loan some money using that condo and want to open a large Japanese restaurant in Noryangjin with my nephew."

Gun-Ho thought his 480 million won wouldn't get him a condo in Seoul since Mr. Byeon's condo in Sadang Town was worth 600 million won.

Mr. Byeon suddenly grabbed Gun-Ho's hand.

"Mr. Goo! You can succeed in this restaurant business. You are still young."

"I am not sure how I could make profits here."

"You can start by targeting travel agencies so they could bring tourists into the restaurant. The staffs in travel agencies are about the same age as you and you can easily get close with them. Since I am an old man, it was not easy to get along with them."

"I don't know."

"China is a land of opportunity. To start a restaurant like mine from scratch, it takes enormous money and time. My restaurant is already established. You can start with this restaurant, and once you get familiar with business here in China you can try some other business."

"It doesn't have to be me, isn't it? You could sell it to a local businessman."

"The rent is 300,000 Yuan and it is almost 40 million won. There are of course rich Chinese people, but many ordinary people here are poor. It is hard to find a Chinese person who could take over my restaurant."


"Why don't you give a try? It's a lot better than the tiny restaurant in Noryangjin."

"Well, I understood what you are saying. Let me think about it."

Next morning, Gun-Ho went to Mr. Byeon's Korean restaurant and took a look at their sales ledger. His work experience in accounting came in very handy. He could grasp the financial state of the restaurant in no time. In addition, the restaurant ledger was done by the single-entry bookkeeping system, rather than the double entry accounting system.

"You listed only revenues and expenses. You did a very good job."

Mr. Byeon seemed to feel bashful by Gun-Ho's comments.

"You have to collect all the receipts for the ingredients you purchase. VAT is very high in China."

"Isn't it 10%? here?"

"It's 17% in China."

"Wow! 17%?"

"That's why you want to save all the receipts for any expenses."

That reminded Gun-Ho that he didn't file his VAT return yet for his Vietnamese noodle soup restaurant in Noryangjin. He decided that he would make the VAT return to be the first thing he would do once he returned to Korea.

"Well, anyway, thank you for showing me the sales ledger and the payroll."

"Take over this restaurant, Mr. Goo! Haha."

"Is there a OneRoom here in China?"

"You probably want to rent a small apartment instead of a OneRoom. I'm currently renting a two-bed apartment with a living room for 1,500 Yuan. It's not bad at all. In case you have a guest from Korea, the two-bed apartment is convenient. You can add your rent when you file the VAT return."

"Can a foreigner acquire a real estate in China?"

"I'm not so sure about it. I guess you might need an Alien Resident Certificate."

"You said you used to work in a Shanghai branch office of a big company. Was there anyone who purchased a real estate and lived there during their stay in Shanghai?"

"Well, there might be, but as far as I know most of us rented an apartment. Even my company rented an apartment if they needed to provide accommodation. I haven't seen anyone who actually purchased one. If you buy a real estate, it cost you a significant amount of money that you can't use until you sell it."

"I see."

That day, Gun-Ho had a Doenjang-jjigae* in Mr. Byeon's Korean restaurant.

"This doesn't taste that good. Maybe because the cooks in the kitchen are Chinese."

After his dinner, Gun-Ho walked to the famous Hangzhou West Lake. West Lake was in a walking distance from Mando Hotel.

"So, this is the famous West Lake."

Gun-Ho squinted at sunset glow over West Lake. He could see the bank that had been built by Su Shi.

"This is so beautiful. I guess I could live a true well-being life here comparing to the life in busy Noryangjin."

Gun-Ho kept walking along West Lake. The surroundings of the lake were very well developed with commercial stores since a lot of tourists visited there. It was crowded and Gun-Ho even saw people touting for their business.

Hangzhou City where West Lake is situated was the capital of the Southern Song dynasty. Lin'an which often appears in a martial arts novel is one of the districts of Hangzhou.

"It has a great view and the area has a high traffic of people. Maybe I can sell a Korean-style chicken-and-beer combination menu."

Gun-Ho looked at the price tags of things on the street as he walked along, and they were very cheap comparing to ones in Korea. He thought the living cost in China should be low and 1 million per month would be enough.


Doenjang-jjigae - a Korean soybean paste stew