Gun-Ho and BM Entertainment's manager were talking about the soap opera production business in China. The entertainment manager said, "I know you have a very good Kkwansi with the municipal government of Shanghai City. Also, it is true that there are lots of production companies for soap operas there? Whether a production company would be successful or not mostly hinges on the contents of the soap operas that they produce. So, it's not simple for me to give you a yes-or-no answer to your question. I would have to say that it depends."
"Hmm. That makes sense."
"Many Chinese soap operas are long-running dramas, and many of them usually have more than thirty episodes. If you want to get into this business, you need to ask yourself if you can or if you are willing to handle the cost."
"How much would it cost to film one soap opera?"
"There are various genres of soap operas such as a historical and modern drama, and the cost to produce one soap opera varies as well. Even though it's hard for me to give a specific number for the cost, I can tell you that it is getting more and more expensive these days to produce one."
"You can still give me a rough estimate."
"I'm not sure about Chinese soap operas, but it usually costs more than 300 million won to film one episode of a Korean soap opera."
"Wow, is it that expensive?"
"You have to pay the actors and the author which costs a substantial amount of money."
"So, in order to produce 30 episodes like a Chinese soap opera, it would cost me 9 billion won, huh? If the drama that I produce received low ratings, I could lose money so quickly."
"Hmm, I guess I have to be extra careful."
"If you decide to get into that business, you certainly have advantages. For example, since you are financially affluent, you wouldn't have to be constantly worried about the cost of production. Also, your connection with the high-ranking officers in the Shanghai government will be greatly useful."
"How would those connections help me in producing a soap opera?"
"China is a communist state. They have rigid censorship. Broadcasting companies in China are notorious for power tripping. Given the harsh business environment in this specific field, having a personal connection with high-ranking officials in the government is definitely a great advantage. However, the most important factor that leads to success in this business is the contents of the soap opera."
"Where do I get good content?"
"You will need to find a good author. Umm, please allow me to have a sip of my tea."
"Of course. Please take your time."
Gun-Ho continued to talk while having a sip of his tea.
"If I want to film a Chinese soap opera, do I need to find a Chinese writer?"
"Not necessarily. You can work with either a Chinese author or a Korean author."
Gun-Ho took a moment to think about it with his arms crossed.
'What this dandy guy said does make sense.'
"If you happen to open a production company of soap operas, especially as a joint venture with a Chinese firm, I can help you with casting Korean actors or actresses. Usually, in China, top actors or actresses exclusively star in soap operas, but some production companies cast Korean actors and actresses as well. Why don't you think about it, and let me know once you decide?"
"Thank you for your professional advice and opinions. How is President Hyeon-Man Yee of BM Entertainment doing?"
"He is doing well. I will let him know that you said hello to him."
"Thank you again for today."
"Well, I guess I need to head out. I have to attend an audition as a judge today."
BM Entertainment's manager walked out of Gun-Ho's office after giving him a bow.
Gun-Ho recalled what Seukang Li told him the other day when he met him in Shanghai.
"There are many competent young people in the soap opera production field in China, who are suffering financially to handle production costs despite their talents in the field. I want to help them and share the profits. Will you join me?"
Gun-Ho had no knowledge or experience in this specific field drama production business and he didn't want to blindly invest in it while risking losing his investment funds. He wanted to take enough time to think about it before he made any decision.
For now, Gun-Ho decided to give a call to Seukang Li and Jien Wang to thank them to send him a congratulatory flower wreath to his wedding.
"Mr. Director Seukang Li is not available at this time. He is in a meeting."
An automated message indicated that Seukang Li was not available to pick up the phone when Gun-Ho dialed his number.
"I guess they are having some sort of communist meeting. They seem to have too many meetings."
Gun-Ho complained and made a call to Jien Wang.
"Jien Wang? It's me, Gun-Ho Goo."
"Hey, Gun-Ho Goo! To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"
"I just wanted to thank you for sending me a congratulatory flower wreath at my wedding."
"I should have visited Korea and attended your wedding in person instead of sending a flower wreath. I'm sorry that I missed your wedding, my friend."
"Don't say that! If you happen to talk with Seukang Li later today, would you convey my thank-you message to him? I just called him at his office to only find out that he was in a meeting."
"I'm sure he is actually in a meeting. Speaking of which, Seukang Li told me the other day he wanted to meet you."
"You need to hear it from him."
When Gun-Ho was preparing to leave for the day, he received a call from Seukang Li.
"President Goo? I'm sorry that I missed your call earlier."
"No worries. I know you are a busy man."
"Not really. I just have so many meetings to attend. Today's meeting was about censorship. We are trying to increase restrictions on the contents of soap operas."
"What sort of contents do you want to filter out?"
"We don't want anything against our public policy."
"Can you give me some examples?"
"Well, something like political content that depicts our past incidents such as 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests or Falun Gong, or some egregiously brutal scene."
"There is more. We don't want any soap operas to be on air, which contains stories about a.d.u.l.teries, superstitions, or homos.e.x.u.a.lity."
"Haha. There would be no fun drama left to watch then."
"By the way, do you have any plan to visit China in the near future?"
"I do want to go to China to see you."
"I talked with President Min-Hyeok Kim the other day. He said you recently opened a logistics company as well."
"Yes, I did. It's a transportation company. You can lease heavy equipment as well from there. It's not a big company though."
"I have a friend in Guizhou Province. He is a deputy mayor there. He asked me the other day if I know of any transportation company in Korea. Would you like to meet him?"
"Sure, why not? There is no problem meeting him, but I am currently working with a tight budget and can't invest in any company for now."
"It's okay. Just meet with him and see what he says. Why don't you visit me in Shanghai? There is a direct flight from Shanghai to Guiyang City, Guizhou Province."
"Sounds good. I will do that."