It was the day of the press conference.
The press conference was about Antang City's people's government's efforts in making its residents' lives better and more convenient by bringing foreign investment funds in the community to build a new bus terminal and to start an intercity express bus service between Antang City and Guiyang City, which was the capital of Guizhou Province.
Gun-Ho went into the convention center on the second floor of the Plaza Hotel. The stage was set, and about ten round tables were placed facing the stage, just like a wedding hall in a hotel in Korea. Several journalists were already there carrying a camera. Jae-Sik Moon was practicing his speech, holding an A4 paper which he wrote yesterday. As the president of the joint venture company, he was supposed to give a greeting speech.
The joint venture company's lady office manager led Gun-Ho and Jae-Sik Moon to the stage. The two interpreters were sitting at each end of the table. Since it was an important event, Mr. Choi from Social Science Academy was there too.
When Gun-Ho turned around to see the back of the stage, he saw a banner hanging on the wall. It said, 'Press Conference on the Establishment of Antang Zhang Yun GH Logistics Joint Venture.'
Jae-Sik Moon whispered into Gun-Ho's ear in a low voice. 'Zhang Yun' means running a long distance. It's like an intercity bus, rapid bus, or express bus in Korea."
"Hmm, I think so."
"The middle seat at the table is vacant. I guess someone very important will be here. Maybe that seat is reserved for Mr. Deputy Mayor."
As soon as Jae-Sik said that, Mr. Deputy Mayor entered the room. All of the people in the Chinese partner's area stood up simultaneously and greeted the deputy mayor. Gun-Ho also stood up to greet him.
"Oh, Mr. President Goo. It's good to see you again."
"How have you been, Mr. Deputy Mayor Lizian Zhang?"
Gun-Ho and Deputy Mayor Lizian Zhang had a handshake before sitting at the table again. The tables for journalists were set with some snacks and refreshments. It looked like they would have lunch at the same table after the press conference ended.
The tables were not occupied by just journalists, but Gun-Ho could see a few familiar faces as well. Jae-Sik told him in a low voice that many people were from Antang City's transportation department, the transportation company, banks, tax office, road management bureau, etc.
Vice President Chun Chang led the press conference. He started it by introducing the people on stage one by one. When he briefly introduced one person followed by another, the people clapped loudly. Gun-Ho could hear the loudest clapping when Jae-Sik Moon and himself were introduced. Gun-Ho was introduced as the chairman of GH Group of companies, which was the partner of the joint venture. Jae-Sik was described as the president of this joint venture company.
President Runsheng Yan talked about how much the joint venture had achieved so far. The director of Antang City's transportation department talked about the size of the project that the joint venture planned. The deputy mayor also gave a speech with a congratulatory address afterward.
It was Jae-Sik's turn to give a greeting speech. As he started talking in Korean, about ten journalists began to gather close to Jae-Sik and took photos vigorously. As Jae-Sik had never had this sort of experience before, he continued to give his speech but with a flushed face. Jae-Sik gave about two sentences each time before taking a brief break, so Mr. Choi from Social Science Academy could take his time in interpreting what Jae-Sik just said in Chinese.
After the press conference was over, the hotel staff started bringing soup to the tables. Gun-Ho thought that the menu for lunch would probably be a stake or a pork cutlet.
'They are serving a nice lunch to everyone with the money that I sent to them. Well, that's fine. Just get as many bus lines as you could for me, so I can make a lot of money. If that happens, I will leave some behind for you.'
Whatever the Chinese partner had done so far was paid by Gun-Ho's money, such as preparing for the terminal construction, opening the joint venture company, buying buses, getting new uniforms for the workers, etc. As a matter of fact, their Chinese partner brought only the vacant land to the joint venture. They hadn't spent even a penny.
Gun-Ho followed the lady office manager down from the stage and joined everyone else who was sitting at the table for lunch. When he dipped his spoon into the soup to eat it, several journalists gathered around Gun-Ho's table with a camera and microphone. They were probably journalists from a TV station. Mr. Choi interpreted for Gun-Ho, who was standing next to him. One journalist asked a question, "What made you decide to make your investment in Antang City specifically?"
The camera was recording every move and word from Gun-Ho.
Gun-Ho said, "Well, I was told that the Chinese government is currently planning several projects intending to develop the southwest area."
Mr. Choi interpreted what Gun-Ho just said immediately.
Gun-Ho continued to talk, "I believe that Guizhou Province had the best potential among other provinces in the southwest area. Especially, Antang City is situated in the critical geographical location to be a hub of transportation connecting other cities. And I'm sure that goods and people will be driven to Antang City. That's why I decided to invest in Antang City. I'm also certain that per capita income in this city will dramatically increase."
Gun-Ho was told that the interview that he just had with the journalists would be on air this evening during the evening news.
Gun-Ho asked the interpreterMr. Choi, "Did I make any mistake in front of the journalists?"
"No, sir, not at all. You did great actually."
Jae-Sik was busy visiting each table and meeting with the people, being accompanied by his interpreterMs. Eun-Hwa Jo. He couldn't even finish his lunch. Jae-Sik and Ms. Eun-Hwa Jo's visiting each table looked like a groom and bride visiting each table of their guests after a wedding in Korea.
When the deputy mayor and the director of the transportation department were about to leave, Gun-Ho followed them from the second floor where the event took place down to the hotel lobby to see them off. The deputy mayor grabbed Gun-Ho's hand and said, "Thank you, Mr. President Goo. Chinese people always payback when they owe something to someone. I personally guarantee you that the business that you are doing here will succeed. I will make it work. Our party secretary in Antang City is paying attention to this joint venture business."
"Thank you. I look forward to closely working with you, sir."
As he sent off the deputy mayor and the transportation department's director, Gun-Ho turned around and looked at Jae-Sik and said, "I guess we'd better leave now too. We have no more business in the event hall on the second floor. Why don't we go to the Shangri-La Hotel where I'm staying now?"
When Gun-Ho informed President Runsheng Yan that he would leave now, he said, "Why don't we get together again in the evening, after you take a deep rest in the hotel. You have visited us multiple times before, and we finally made through this far. I'd like to invite you to Karaoke."
"Did you say Karaoke? Sounds good."
Gun-Ho laughed and came back to his hotelShangri-La Hotel.