Gun-Ho and Chan-Ho parked the Bentley in the airport parking lot in the bas.e.m.e.nt and proceeded with checking in for a flight. It was a bit onerous to help Chan-Ho with checking-in and other processes, but Gun-Ho liked the fact that Chan-Ho carried his entire luggage and also ran little errands for him.
Chan-Ho seemed a bit nervous but excited about the trip. He probably didn't have much experience with overseas travel.
"You have your passport and flight ticket ready, right?"
"Yes, I have them all with me."
"Do you see the currency exchange booth over there? Can you go there and exchange 1 million won with Yuan?"
While Chan-Ho handled the currency exchange, Gun-Ho sat in a lounge at the airport and enjoyed a warm cup of tea while relaxing.
Once they arrived in China, they went to Shanghai City to see Seukang Li.
"Hey, Seukang Li!"
"Gun-Ho Goo! It's really good to see you, my friend. I knew you were coming, but you are so quick."
"I could grab a taxi right after we arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport."
"I'm sorry that I couldn't attend your wedding in person."
"Don't mention it! I appreciate you for sending me the congratulatory flower wreath."
"I heard from President Min-Hyeok Kim that your wife is a Yi sheng (doctor)."
"Yes, she is."
Chan-Ho Eum, who was standing behind Gun-Ho, was amazed by Gun-Ho's Chinese.
'Wow. The president speaks Chinese fluently like a native Chinese. When did he learn it?'
When Seukang Li realized that Gun-Ho had a company, he asked, "Who is the young man you came with? Is he your secretary? Or a bodyguard? He has a sturdy build."
"Yes, you can say that he is both my secretary and bodyguard."
"Have a seat. Let's have some tea."
"Chan-Ho, say hello to him. He is the director of Shanghai City."
Chan-Ho gave a deep bow to Seukang Li showing his utmost respect, and Seukang Li offered his hand for a handshake.
Seukang Li sat on a chair and continued to talk while having his tea.
"There is a small town called Antang in Guizhou Province. The deputy mayor there is a friend of mine. We went to Beijing University together. Also, we participated in activities together for the Communist Youth League of China as well. He is the one who asked me to find a logistics company in Korea."
"Why does he need a Korean logistics company?"
"A highway has been recently built connecting Antang to the capital of Guizhou ProvinceGuiyang Cityand he wants to start a public transportation service there."
"The problem is that their existing bus terminals are very old and shabby along with their busses. Guiyang City has a population of about 4.5 million while Antang's population is around 800,000. Cities in China are usually large in size, so their populations are not so high."
"So he wants to run a bus service company connecting those two citiesAntang and Guiyanghuh?"
"If he wanted to just run a transportation business, he wouldn't need a foreign partner. It's not difficult a work to get several busses and run them. What he focuses on is to construct bus terminals, which costs money."
"I see, so he wants to build bus terminals"
"That's right. He wants to demolish the existing bus terminal buildings and construct new ones. Once the terminals are completed, he will sell commercial stores there and pay back the construction cost with the sales proceeds."
"So, since he has land to build bus terminals on, he wants a Korean company to build bus terminals there for them and retrieve the construction cost by selling commercial stores in the buildings."
"Something like that."
"What if those commercial stores don't sell?"
"That's impossible. Bus terminals are the areas with high traffic."
"I wonder who would take the job. It would cost a substantial amount of money to complete the construction, and not to mention that it would take a long time to collect the funds."
"That's why he wants to put one more thing on the table. He is offering to give Xianlu pai (the operating right to run transportation service) between two citiesAntang and Guiyang. In other words, you can run the bus company connecting those two cities for now."
"You will see once you visit those cities. The buses between the two cities are extremely crowded all the time."
"That's tempting, but the cost to build the terminals will be significantly expensive Moreover, I'm pretty sure that it would take more than two years to retrieve the investment funds"
"Just talk with my friend once you visit him. He is very motivated to make this project work. It's a good opportunity for him as well to solidify his position in the government if he could successfully bring foreign investment in developing those remote areas to promote people's convenience in their daily life. That is definitely a good thing to happen for the people in the community as well."
"How long does it take to travel from Antang to Guiyang City?"
"It's about 250 kilometers. Since the highway is there already, if we run express buses there, it will take only 3 hours to travel from one city to the other. But, with the old current busses, I heard it takes at least four to five hours. If you decide to meet with him, I will give him a call, so he would expect you."
"There are so many large companies in China. Why wouldn't he choose a partner among them?"
"Even though there are lots of companies in China, it's not easy to select one for a specific job. Also, he wants to prevent any excessive intervention in selling commercial stores and so on from his future partner. It's about public benefit after all, and it will be hard for the city to achieve its ultimate goal if there is a partner that raises its voice too much. To be honest with you, with foreign investment funds, we don't see much of those kinds of issues."
"You don't have to decide right now. You can think about it after you meet with him and visit the areas. If you think that there is no prospect of success there, you don't have to do it. I'm not giving you any pressure here."
"What about the production company of soap operas that you talked about the other day?"
"I do have a few good candidates for it, but the thing is that the production cost is too high now. It's about 1 million Yuan per episode. Assuming a soap opera has fifty episodes, it would cost 50 million Yuan. Do you think you can handle it?"
"Hmm, it's 9 billion in Korean won."
Gun-Ho decided to visit Guizhou Province first.
"Is there a flight going to Guiyang City today?"
Seukang Li called for a secretary.
"Please find out if there is a flight going to Guiyang City today."
After a while, the secretary came back to the office and said, "The four o'clock flight is full, but the six o'clock flight is available."
"Okay, then I will take the six o'clock flight. Please make a hotel reservation for us."
"There is a hotel close to the City Hall, called Jinqiao. I will make a reservation there for you."
"Sounds good. We will need two rooms."
"Use my car to get to the airport."
"That's an official vehicle, and I'm not supposed to use it. I can take a taxi. Please call one for me."
Gun-Ho headed to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport with Chan-Ho Eum.
"Do we take another flight from here again?"
"Yeah, we are going to a city called Guiyang. It will take longer than the trip from Seoul to Shanghai. We are taking a domestic flight, so it won't be very luxurious. Know that before you board the flight."
Chan-Ho grinned and said, "It's fun and a very good experience for me."