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318 Seukang Li’s Suggestion 2 – Part 1

 Min-Hyeok was telling the story to Gun-Ho about Suk-Ho's visit to Suzhou City.

"Suk-Ho closed his bar business at Gyeongridan Street."

"What is he doing for a living now?"

"He said he wants to open a business in China."

"A business in China? What kind of business is he talking about?"

"He said he purchased three commercial stores in Shenyang City. Those stores were not expensive at all, and he could cover the costs of the three stores with the sales proceeds he earned when he sold his bar. He seemed to be so excited."

"So, he purchased commercial stores, not residential property... Maybe he wants to make money by leasing them out?"

"Well, he said he wants to open a restaurant or a clothing store there."

"A clothing store? Is he going to sell Korean clothes?"

"His wife used to run a clothing store in Itaewon Town before. I heard that the market around Itaewon Town is not doing well these days after the U.S. military base moved from Yongsan City to Pyeongtaek City."

"What is he doing in Suzhou City then? His business is in Shenyang City."

"He was trying to gather some information about business registration and tax stuff. Also, he wants to travel to other areas of China."

"So he is running his business as a sole proprietor. The business registration and taxes for a sole proprietorship are handled differently from the ones of a company. An individual business owner must be very careful in doing business in China. China is not an easy place to run a business. I once had my restaurant in China several years ago, but I didn't really make any money from that business. I made my money by buying and selling real properties. By the way, can he speak Chinese?"

"Not at all. He uses an interpretation service by a Korean Chinese in Shenyang City."

"Hmm. He really has to take every precaution here."

"He asked me to come and visit him at Shenyang City."

"What's your schedule tomorrow? Can you go somewhere with me?"

"Sure. I have nothing special scheduled for tomorrow."

"Then, let's go to Dandong City that you mentioned before. We can take a train from Shenyang to Dandong. We can meet Suk-Ho and see how he is doing before going to Dandong City. And we can meet the deputy director of Dandong Economic Development Zone."

"That sounds good. I will reserve two flight tickets heading to Shenyang for tomorrow's trip. Tomorrow, let's make a quick stop to the company to hear the current status of the company's profits and losses in the morning, and then we can leave in the afternoon. I will make a call to Suk-Ho and the deputy director of the Dandong Economic Development Zone today, and let them know that we are coming."

The next morning, Gun-Ho went to GH Parts Company which Min-Hyeok was running.

GH Mobile's former plant manager was there. He started working with Min-Hyeok after he retired from GH Mobile.

"How are you, sir? How's your life here?"

"I'm doing great. President Min-Hyeok Kim has been very nice and understanding to me."

The former GH Mobile's plant manager looked healthy and seemed to be doing well. Gun-Ho felt relieved.

"After the plant manager joined us, our machines are 100% in a working condition all the time."

The factory was working vigorously. Min-Hyeok started My Machine program after he learned it from GH Mobile, and the factory became extremely clean ever since. Moreover, the workers' attitude at work had been substantially improved as well. Min-Hyeok introduced the managers and team leaders to Gun-Ho.

"This is the owner of this company. He came from Korea."

"Ni Hao!"

"Ni Hao!"

The workers said hello to Gun-Ho simultaneously.

Min-Hyeok gave a report to Gun-Ho on GH Parts Company's profits and losses. Min-Hyeok had the employee, who was in charge of the accounting, stay in the office while giving the financial report to Gun-Ho, and he verified some numbers with that employee to make sure the numbers he was giving to Gun-Ho were accurate. By listening to the conversation between Min-Hyeok and the accounting staff, Gun-Ho noticed that Min-Hyeok's Chinese had improved significantly.

"Hey, you speak Chinese fluently now."

"Nah, I need to practice more, or maybe because I live with a Chinese woman now."

Min-Hyeok grinned.

"I'm serious. Your Chinese sound great."

"As you can see on the chart, our annual sales revenue was about 300 million won until last month. It increased to 350 million won. That's when we started selling GH Mobile's new product-AM083 Assembly. I made a new contract with a new buyer company recently, so our annual sales revenue will be about 400 million won starting next month."

"I think you need to hire more workers."

"We are maintaining the same number of workers; we have 42. Instead of hiring more workers, I told them that I will raise their salaries. They like it better. People say our company requires hard work, but it pays very well in the industry."

"Really?"

Gun-Ho took out his bankbook and stamp, and said,

"I didn't have a chance to exchange currency. Can you withdraw 10,000 Yuan from my bank account for me?"

Gun-Ho handed to Min-Hyeok his bankbook with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and his personal stamp. Gun-Ho had about 7 million Yuan (about 1.2 billion Korean won) in his bank account in China. That was the payment from Jinxi Construction Company when they terminated the joint venture.

Min-Hyeok asked for the staff from the accounting team. Min-Hyeok filled out the bank's withdrawal slip and stamped on two papers and then gave them to the staff and said,

"Please withdraw 10,000 Yuan from this account with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China."

"Hao La (Okay)."

When the accounting staff left the office, Gun-Ho said with a smile,

"So, here, you stamp twice on the bank withdrawal slip, huh?"

"Oh, one of the papers is a power of attorney. If the owner of the bank account sends someone else to the bank on behalf of him, they require a power of attorney."

Once the staff brought 10,000 Yuan, Gun-Ho and Min-Hyeok headed out to the airport. They were headed to Shenyang City.

Shenyang City's old name was Fengtian. It was the capital city and the center of politics, economics, and culture of China's northeast Liaoning province. Nurhaci claimed Shenyang as the new capital city during the Qing dynasty. Hong Taiji's grave and the palace were located in Shengyang as well.

When Gun-Ho and Min-Hyeok arrived at the airport in Shenyang City, Suk-Ho Lee was waiting for them at the airport.

"Hey, Suk-Ho Lee!"

"Gun-Ho Goo! Min-Hyeok Kim! It's really good to see you guys. Thank you for coming to see me."

Suk-Ho looked tired.

"I didn't rent a car since you stay here only for one night. We can just take a taxi."

"We don't have to go straight to the hotel now since we don't even have any luggage with us. Let us see your new business first. We'd better leave now, so we can get there before sundown."

"Sure. Let's walk to the taxi station."

"Where did you say you are staying?"

"The area is called Xita. A lot of Korean Chinese live there. We don't even need to speak Chinese."

There were really a lot of native ethnic Korean people in Xita. They had their own school, and Gun-Ho could easily hear the Korean language on the street. The children, who seemed to be on their way going home after school, spoke Korean, but their accents were strange. It was more like a North Korean accent.

"Haha. This place is really interesting."

It was certainly an unusual place for Gun-Ho. He looked around the street. The street was filled with a lot of people, and it was crowded. The buildings there were old and shabby, and they were giving off a gloomy feeling.

Suk-Ho's store was located in a building that was located a bit off the Xita area. He bought three stores in that area. Two of them were closed with a shutter door, and one was open with some clothes hanging inside. It seemed that the area didn't have high foot traffic at all. Gun-Ho was wondering if Suk-Ho would make any money with his business at this location.

"Are you getting enough foot traffic in this area?"

"The area will soon be developed dramatically. They have a big plan for it already. It was just like this when I started my bar at Gyeonridan Street. This area will soon be vitalized."