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Home > Story of a Big Player from Gangnam

98 Flavors of Life 2 – PART 1

 Gun-Ho started his day early morning with Professor Wang, heading to Shanghai.

Gun-Ho wanted to rent a car and drive all the way to Shanghai, but Professor Wang talked him out of it and suggested to take an express bus to Shanghai and then take a taxi there to go to Kunshan City.

"Renting a car is too expensive. Let's take an express bus instead, even though it could be a bit uncomfortable."

When they arrived in Shanghai, they took a taxi heading to their final destination, Kunshan City. The taxi was driving on the G2 Jinghu Expressway and they talked about the joint venture.

"Professor Wang, you said you would participate in the joint venture, right?"

"I did, but I am not so sure yet. It might be difficult for me to participate."

Professor Wang sighed.

"What's wrong?"

"I still do want to participate. I intended to take 5% of the share, so Jinxi Construction Company of Kunshan City would take 50%, and a Korean company would take 45%. That was the initial plan."

"Hmm."

"In fact, China usually doesn't divide the share 50:50 when they set up an international joint venture with another country because of the management right. We usually do 51:49. I supposed it's not just China, but other countries are doing the same thing."

"Are they trying to prevent any possible intervention in managing the joint venture from the foreign co-venturer?"

"That's right."

"What is the 5% share about?"

"That was something my friends and I wanted to do for Seukang Li. We wanted to have some shares in the joint venture with the funds we all would contribute and once we make money from it, we would help and support Seukang Li."

"What kind of help or support does Seukang Li need?"

"Seukang Li is a smart and promising man with a bright future. He is an upright person who couldn't easily be corrupted like many other politicians. His grandfather was in the Eighth Route Army and he also participated in the war, and his father used to work as a Hyunjang (corresponding to a county governor in Korea). He is a righteous and respected man."

"What does it have to do with supporting him?"

"We want him to stay as he currently is. While he is working as a high-ranking official, he could encounter a lot of temptation because of money. So, my friends and I wanted to make money by participating in the joint venture and support Seukang Li with the money we would make from it. So he doesn't have to take bribes and stay as a righteous politician as he is now. We are hoping that he grows in the government and becomes a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China in the future. He will be our pride and his family's pride, and our town's pride."

"Hmm."

"We have this good intention, but we don't have money. The joint venture will start with 3,000,000 U.S. dollars capital. 5% of 3 million dollars is 150,000 dollars. We have been trying to collect the money but it's not easy to reach that amount."

"Hmm."

"Seukang Li has no idea about our plan. He will get upset if he finds it out. He is stricter than he looks. He was the leader of the Communist Youth League of China. He is a man of great self-respect. He grew up in a highly respected family and graduated from Beijing University. Even so, he started his career from working in a factory."

"Hmm."

"150,000 dollars is a substantial amount of money in China. Even Alibaba President Marwin-one of the richest men in the world gave an impassioned speech to attract investors because he didn't have 500,000 Yuan."

"So, are you giving up on participating in the joint venture?"

"I think I have to. I am sure that the industrial park will be profitable with even only 50 foreign business entities moving into the industrial park. But it's not easy to make it happen."

"It's easier said than done. It will be truly hard to attract 50 foreign companies. Even in Korea, people say it's hard to succeed in having a business in China."

"We are aware of it. However, the location of this industrial park is really good. The Kunshan City is situated between two major cities: Shanghai and Suzhou. In addition, The City of Kunshan will offer excellent benefits to the foreign companies such as low corporate tax."

"Hmm."

"I believe they will do a presentation in Korea and Japan to attract foreign investors by introducing and explaining the project. However, in my opinion, the foreign companies that are already in China will be very interested. They might be currently facing some difficulties in running their business in China like a ridiculously expensive rent or unreasonable product transportation. So those foreign companies will move their location to Kunshan City."

"Hmm."

"You will see. If the new coming foreign companies are 30% of the entire foreign entities that would move into the industrial park, the remaining 70% will be the ones that were already running a business in China. We are almost there."

When Gun-Ho and Professor Wang entered the Business Hotel lobby, Deputy Mayor Li who was sitting in a chair stood up.

"Hey! Gun-Ho Goo!"

"Hey, Seukang Li. How have you been?"

They greeted each other with a handshake.

"Oh, let me introduce him. This is the president of Jinxi Construction Company of Kunshan City."

The president of the construction company was an overweight man who was wearing glasses. He looked like in his early 50s.

"I'm Gun-Ho Goo."

"I'm Chinkkweo Seon."

Professor Wang also had a handshake with the man and exchanged their business cards.

"Gun-Ho! President Seon will show you the Jinxi Industrial Park today. I have an important meeting that I have to attend. After you go see the industrial park, join me for dinner, okay? The dinner tonight will be treated by the City of Kunshan as an official dinner for our guest."

President Seon brought his car. A chauffeur was driving the car. They said it was Buick Excelle; it didn't look very luxurious though.

In Kunshan City, there were many small canals. President Seon explained about it.

"In the past, these canals were used for transportation. This area has a lot of lakes and historic sites. Jinxi Town in Kunshan City where we are heading to is a small town about 90㎢. It's very close to Shanghai City and Suzhou City. Therefore, companies sitting on the Jinxi Industrial Park would save logistics costs. Moreover, its excellent location would allow them to have easy access to the rich labor market."

They arrived at the industrial park. It was almost a vacant land. Red flags were placed here and there on the land and heavy equipment was scooping up soils.

President Seon had the chauffeur stop the car in front of a standing signboard. Once they got off the car, Gun-Ho could see two workers who were wearing yellow construction hats. They were standing in front of the standing signboard with a long stick. The standing signboard turned out to be the bird's eye view of the construction site.

Once President Seon asked the workers to give a briefing, one of the workers started explaining about the construction while pointing things on the standing signboard with his stick.

"Our Jinxi Industrial Park has a size of 695,000 ㎡. We are expecting to complete the 3-Flow work by April, 20xx. The total construction cost would be..."

The aerial view of the industrial park looked like a shrimp with a bent back. President Seon took the stick from the worker who was giving a briefing and added more details to their briefing.

"A sewage treatment plant will be built in this part, where wastewater would be disposed of. A management office will be placed in this middle part."

In Gun-Ho's eyes, it would take forever to complete the sewage treatment plant and the road paving.

"The road and the sewage treatment plant will have to be completed before bringing business entities."

As Gun-Ho said this, President Seon of Jinxi Construction Company gave a forced smile.

There was still a lot of time left until the dinnertime that Seukang Li reserved for Gun-Ho. As Gun-Ho looked at his watch on purpose, Professor Wang suggested visiting some tourist places.

"Sure."

President Seon who heard Professor Wang's suggestion volunteered to show them around.

President Seon took them to a water town called Zhouzhuang where Gun-Ho could see ancient canal side residential houses. It was very exotic.

"Whoa, it's beautiful!"

Gun-Ho was impressed by the scenic view. The canal water didn't look so clean but the town seemed to show an ancient Chinese town.

"This is really awesome!"

As Gun-Ho seemed to be very excited, President Seon felt good and asked Gun-Ho.

"Is there a town like this in Korea?"

"We don't really have canals like this in Korea, but we do have many places with beautiful nature and scenic view."

"I know Korea is a highly developed country. I really like to visit the country someday."

Professor Wang said to President Seon while giving him a gentle nudge in the ribs.

"If the joint venture works out well, President Goo will invite you to Korea and show you around."