Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Three months later.
It has been the best three months for the DG’s business growth in China. It also was the most glorious three months for Charles and Chen Zheng in their lives, which they had never experienced before, and would not experience again. It was so wonderful that Chen Zhen enjoyed indulging himself in it in his later life, just like a wonderful dream. It was so sweet and addictive that he wished he would never wake up from it.
And at that moment, Chen Zheng was still immersed in the beautiful part of life.
At night, inside the Nan Yue Six Star Hotel in Lin City, the hotel’s lights were shining brightly and it was full of the well-dressed guests. On the backdrop at the front was a massive DG China logo, and a series of their astounding figures and results.
“DG China’s annual sale volumes reaching 500 million.”
“ZAMON was announced the No.1 most influential brand in China.”
“Market share over 25%.”
“Monthly sales growth 300%.”
Today was the last day of the year, and it was also the annual celebration party for DG China.
With beautiful music in the background and the attention from everyone, under the bright lights, in his most expensive tuxedo, Charles stepped onto the main stage with a broad smile. He listed out all the results from DG China over the past year; his humorous comments and his wise bearing earned him lots of laughter and applause.
At the end, he invited all the senior executives onto the stage, making a toast to all the staff, guests and media workers present. Standing right next to him, was Chen Zheng, full of high spirits and handsomeness. The two held hands, lifting their arms in a celebratory gesture to the crowd, then Charles grabbed the microphone, “The person I’m most thankful for, is my friend and colleague, Chen Zheng, and all the Chinese staff. Without your support, DG China couldn’t have achieved such great results, and couldn’t contribute our best products in the world to Chinese consumers.”
His speech pushed the atmosphere to a climax. Everyone was cheering and applauding, the senior executives had finished their red wine. Chen Zheng had his arm over Charles’ shoulder, looking at the lights and people below the stage, he hadn’t felt this ambitious and complacent ever before.
He had eventually brought SMQ to a new peak. He thought that he had finally achieved what he deserved.
How could anyone say that China should not be proud of him? His SMQ had become a subsidiary of the best luggage company in the world. They were able to learn the state of art technologies and the most cutting edge management process. Gradually, he’d be even better and achieve even more.
His dream of becoming the best Chinese businessman would come true.
With more uplifting music, people started to move onto the dance floor, Americans, Australians and Chinese… some pretty female staff also came to invite the leaders for a dance. Charles and Chen Zheng smiled to each other, each led their dance partners, and joined the dance floor. It also brought the atmosphere to another highlight.
The music was the Cha Cha dance. The two bosses were surprisingly fluid and relaxed, attracting the attention of everyone. While twisting and moving his arms, Chen Zheng felt his heart filled with the lively atmosphere. A thought started to vaguely pass through his head, wishing the good times would never end. Beautiful as a dream, he hoped the glamorous success would never change.
He never wanted to return to that sad, lonely, angry and hopeless bottom of the cave.
Markets would always bring unexpected results, sometimes even contradictory results. None of the market research experts could ever fully understand and predict the future. Because it consisted of numerous consumers, and was interfered and affected by endless factors.
For example, lately, in contrast to DG China’s great sales success, was the nationwide resistance against DG China online, which had reached its peak. Many student groups teamed up to boycott DG as a brand; lots of luggage and bag companies publicly complained and protesting against the repression and acquisition that they had suffered from DG, both online and through the media. A group of economists had published articles, blaming the malicious violation from foreign corporations to the Chinese luggage and bag industry… Of course, Li Zhicheng and Ning Weikai both contributed to the aggravating rally.
Nevertheless, there was no denying that the better the sales volume was, the more severe the resistance was, and vice versa.
No one could explain exactly why the two extreme situations were appearing in the market at the same time. Many scholars dedicated to protect the local Chinese brands’ were left feeling powerless and frustrated.
Yet, pretty much everyone could sense that the current Chinese luggage and baggage market was like a gigantic balloon, the bigger it got, the stronger the current would build up from the inside. Other than Aida Group, and Ning Weikai’s Sha Ying brand, which were still able to stand up to DG, the rest of the luggage and bag companies all started to feel great pressure. It seemed more and more difficult for them to survive, and their future was harder and harder to foresee.
In addition, the dilemma of accepting the tempting acquisition offer from DG and protecting and holding on to the native Chinese brands was haunting many of the local luggage and bagging companies, including New Bori, whose revenue had decreased dramatically. Its two presidents, the Zhu brothers, were facing a difficult choice.
This was an ordinary night, brothers Zhu Hancheng and Zhu Hanyuan were sitting in a small conference room on the top floor in the Zhu’s headquarters, having another confidential discussion on the matter of New Bori’s stock share. The two looked serious and focused.
Yes, their current situation was a dilemma. The last time they sold some of New Bori’s stock shares, they were badly scolded by their father. But since it was a done deal, the old man couldn’t do much about it.
They initially planned to wait for the change, watching for their chance to raise the price and then sell the rest of the shareholding to DG. They never intended to keep New Bori.
However, now the situation had changed. They hadn’t expected the resistance from the public to be so furious against DG. Lots of media workers and scholars were acting like they’d been watching every move of the native entrepreneurs. Once someone had sold his own brand and company, immediately he’d receive infinite scolding and blame.
The Zhu brothers were raised in a well-established family, and their public images were extremely valuable to them. They would never allow their reputation to be destroyed in that way, nor would they let their own real estate and financial corporations be affected. So with the development of the situation, it had exceeded their original anticipation, deterring them from selling to DG.
However, as DG’s business got better, New Bori’s own business became worse at the same time. Since they wouldn’t let the company be abolished under their management, all they wanted at this stage, was to find a Chinese buyer. As to whether the buyer would sell it to foreign investors or not, it’d be none of their concern. If someone was to be a sinner of the nation, they’d let someone else take the blame. Money was all they wanted.
And now, after talking to a few people, they had finally found a decent buyer.
He was a businessman from Beijing, with the family background relating to the government. He also had a great relationship with lots of state-owned companies in Lin City. They checked, and he had no history of affiliating with Ning Weikai.
Rest assured, they were planning to secretly sign the Share Transfer Agreement the next morning. Despite receiving a much lower price than they had estimated, under the current situation, it was their best option.
There was one concern. Since this buyer decided to become the shareholder of New Bori, naturally he would want to take the advantage of the low price and obtain the voting power of the company by purchasing the majority of the shares. That was why he requested the Zhu brothers to help acquiring the share holdings owned by their father or by Zhu Hanyu.
Of course the Zhu brothers were afraid to mention it to their father, therefore, they planned to start with Zhu Hanyu, who normally lived a very private life and was rarely involve in family business. They were here today to give her a call, and to get a sense of where her mind might be.
After a brief discussion, the younger brother, Zhu Hancheng, picked up the phone and dialed her number.
Lately Zhu Hanyu had always forgotten to charge her phone and carry her phone with her. As her brother called her landline, she happened to have just arrived home, walking towards it with her bare feet, from the porch.
It was around 8 o’clock at night, in a dark room, without any lights on, the trees were reflected by the road lamps outside, all over the room.
Looking slightly exhausted, Zhu Yuhan sat on the couch, with her knees together, pressing on the hands-free button,
In a clear and gentle voice, Zhu Hancheng asked, “Hanyu, are you home? Why’s your phone off?”
Zhu Hanyu paused a little.
Ever since she decided to delegate the shareholdings to Ning Weikai, her brothers were very mad at her, so she hadn’t talked to them in a while.
Now that she heard her brother’s voice again, she turned soft, and emotional, and quietly she replied, “Brother…”
Zhu Hancheng also went silent for a little while, lowering down his voice even more softly, “Our older brother is also here. Hanyu, you haven’t come back to our house for a while. How about tomorrow? Your oldest brother and I will both be home.”
Gently biting her lower lip, Zhu Hanyu’s voice started to sound a little shaky, “… Brother, I’m going to the volunteer service tomorrow, how about another time?”
“Sure,” both of her older brothers replied at the same time. Then the oldest brother began, “Hanyu, we care about you, do you understand that?”
“… I do.”
On the other end of the phone, the Zhu brothers shared eye contact, then the younger one said, “Hanyu, there’s something we’d like to discuss with you.”
He briefly explained their goal to sell New Bori, and the stakes. In the end, he told her, “Hanyu, you might not realize it, but New Bori is already gone, instead of keeping it to us, it would be best if we cash it in. You can also invest and buy some other stocks or real estate. Or just buy the shares from me and our older brother, we’ll sell to you at the cheapest price. It’s definitely better than owning New Bori shares.” Although this speech was very purposeful, it was also honest and for his sister’s benefit.
Zhu Hanyu also understood his point, after a brief silence, she continued, “Thanks, brother, but I’ve already delegated the shareholdings to Ning Weikai. I’m going to have a think about it.”
On the other end, the Zhu brothers exchanged eye contact.
On one hand, they could tell that Zhu Hanyu sounded less tough, rather than constantly defending Ning Weikai, like before; on the other hand, they’d always realized that Ning Weikai had clearly become their biggest problem. So Zhu Hancheng continued to further explain the stakes among these matters. Yet, Zhu Hanyu still decided to sleep on it, appearing very indecisive.
At last, the oldest brother had to say something.
“Hanyu, I’ve never meant to tell you this, but as brothers, we can’t stand seeing you treated like this.” In a cold voice, “Ning Weikai is cheating on you with a mistress, he even brings her to the office, coming in and out together everyday. Why are you still thinking for him…?”
Zhu Hanshu suddenly started talking, it sounded so sentimental, like never before, roughly interrupting him.
The brothers could even hear her quiet breath from the mood swing over the phone. She sounded like being stabbed in her wounded foot, panicking and quickly said, “Stop it, I promise you I’ll think about it. I’m busy, so goodbye…”
Beep, she hung up the phone.
The Zhu brothers looked at each other, and after a brief silence, the younger one said, “Do you think she’ll sell them?”
The older one shook his head, “Don’t know. Just let her be.” He paused, “Don’t push her anymore.”
On the other end of the phone, Zhu Hanyu pressed down the hands-free button, looking almost disgusted. Then she wrapped her arms around her legs, staring at the quiet and dark night blankly, with her tears falling off, one by one, silently.
Meanwhile, she heard the familiar and slow footsteps behind her.
Surprised, she turned around, seeing Ning Weikai walk out of the bedroom. It turned out that he’d already gotten home sometime before, and had been sleeping in the bedroom the whole time.
In the pajamas she’d carefully chosen for him, his hair was a little messy, and he wasn’t even wearing the slippers. His handsome face was in the room full of darkness, standing just a few steps away from her, looking at her in silence. His eyes, the long eyes that usually appeared happy and positive, now looked intimidatingly dark, like lots of complicated sentiments were written all over them.
She was also gawking at him.
“Hanyu, I’m not cheating.” In his husky and light voice, “From now on, I’ll also never cheat.”
The same night, as usual, Li Zhicheng finished work at Aida, and headed back to the apartment block alone.
It was the busiest time in the apartment blocks every day. All the shops were open, with people and cars moving in and out. In a black jacket, Li Zhicheng slowly walked towards a restaurant.
The food was pretty good there, he and Lin Qian often went there for dinner back in the day.
Although he was still quiet and aloof, having known him for a while, the manager of the restaurant nicely guided him to a quiet table, asking, “Still two dishes, take away?”
Li Zhicheng nodded, “Thanks.”
The female manager couldn’t help but ask again, “Isn’t your girlfriend back yet?” They used to come here together; a good looking couple with great intimacy, leaving others jealous. Back then the handsome man also smiled a lot more often.
Hearing her mention Lin Qian, Li Zhicheng put on a slight smile.
“Yeah, she doesn’t know when yet,” he replied, without showing much emotion.
Since it was close to the New Year, already some kids were setting off firecrackers, one after one, very bright. Li Zhicheng’s fingers lightly rested on the teacup, watching quietly for a while. Then the waitress brought over his order. After paying, he took them and walked out of the loud restaurant, back to the house by the lake that was not too far away.
In the dark night, the shadows of the trees were reflected on the narrow and long path. Carrying the takeaway with one hand, Li Zhicheng’s other hand was in his pocket. He paused when he walked past the grape vine in the front yard.
He was unsure when they had grown, but the grapes were already all over the vine, with prosperous leaves, green and fresh.
Li Zhicheng stared at it quietly, and slowly a smile appeared on his face.
Perhaps next summer, they could eat the fruit they grew themselves. He could almost picture Lin Qian nagging him to pick the grapes, “Hey, I’m just a little shorter than you, otherwise I wouldn’t ask you.”
“Lift me up to pick… move a little bit to the left, eh? Don’t touch my waist, so ticklish…”
Li Zhicheng looked down, the smile on his face gradually disappearing, and he stepped on the stairs to the foyer, with his long legs. The grapes has suddenly reminded him of her, so much of her.
He thought of three months ago, when she was so determined to start her own business, gracefully standing in front of him and Lin Mochen, and in a clear voice, forceful and lofty, “… I’m going to stand in front of everyone and impress them. I want the misunderstanding to stop from now on. I will definitely… make them see it.”
He also thought of the time when she was attacked with eggs. Covered with yolk, her face looking disgusted and messy, but her eyes did not show panic, or fear. There was only “lost” written all over her, so lost that it made his heart tremble.
She said, “When you strike back, I’ll be back.”
So ambitious, but also so profound and affectionate.
What he said to her that day was correct; he was the more embarrassed one.
He had never known that lovesickness could make a man so embarrassed. Even though the embarrassment not visible to anyone, sometimes in the dead of the night, or sitting in the most noisy and intense conference, he would suddenly think of her.
He missed her so badly that he couldn’t rest well. It was only a very light feeling of loneliness, but it lingered in his mind, leaving him constantly cranky, impatient and depressed, but he was unable to have her understand and comfort him.
Yet, just as he told Lin Qian, he was a man with great endurance.
Now that she wanted to chase after her dreams and herself, he was happy to let her go for now.
Once she came back, he’d explain to her how much disturbance she had caused.
She aroused in him a strong desire to conquer and possess her, how could she calm it down?
He pushed the door open, seeing there was an extra pair of shoes in the foyer. The lamp on the floor of the lounge was turned on, the light was dark. A person was on the couch, picking up the remote, turning on the television.
Of course it wasn’t someone he had been waiting for.
Gu Yanzhi switched the channel to Lin City Economy Channel, then turned to look at him, smiling.
Li Zhicheng also smiled lightly, putting down the food on the table, and sat next to him.
“When did you come back?”
Gu Yanzhi’s hair was still damp, clearly he had just got of a shower, “This morning. I got the keys from Jiang Yuan, and headed straight to your place to sleep.”
He slowly glanced at him, “You’re by yourself anyways, your woman was still out. I need to lie low, and hiding at Li Zhicheng’s, who has already “broken off with me”, is the safest.”
Li Zhicheng ignored his taunt, walked to the fridge and grabbed some beers. He handed one to Gu Yanzhi and opened one for himself, and drank slowly.
“The preparation is all done?” he asked.
Gu Yanzhi nodded, “Everything is ready. From tomorrow, the online advertising will start running on multiple websites.”
Li Zhicheng didn’t pursue it further, and he raised the beer and had a cheers, “Thanks for the hard work.”
Gu Yanzhi raised the corner of his mouth, lifted his head up and took a big sip. The cold beer ran down his throat, refreshing and pleasant.
That cold and quiet winter night, the two slowly ate along with the beer. When the DG ad was playing on television, Gu Yanzhi quietly giggled, then he turned to Li Zhicheng, “To be honest, the quality of DG is really good, and the design is also pretty creative and elegant. We should learn from them.”
Li Zhicheng nodded, “To subdue the enemies by learning from their strong points.”
Gu Yanzhi responded with a smile.
While they were still talking, the DG ad had also finished. Suddenly they heard the drum beat, heavy and loud. It had a great rhythm, low and pure, as if there was nothing else, immediately awakening the people.
The two both looked up, tracing the noise to the screen. Meanwhile, in that split second, the LED screen suddenly became dark, black and quiet.
In the center of the screen, two beautiful silver Chinese characters slowly appeared on the screen: Glamorous.
“Stealing their thunder” was the essence in advertising and marketing.
This ad clearly followed through with this concept. Not only Li Zhicheng and Gu Yanzhi, the two giants in business, paid attention. Chen Zheng and Charles, who were sitting in their office appreciating their earnings statement; Ning Weikai, who was at home staring at his wife’s lovely back; Lin Mochen, who was in his apartment, living a quiet life; Xu Yong, who was in the nursing home; and countless others had all noticed this distinctive ad.
Grasping their attention, music began, and the picture lit up at the same time.
It was a train, loudly driving out of the deep and snowy mountains, into a wide green field. The high mountains and beautiful clouds, sunlight shimmering on the lake, and groups of cows and sheep dotting the field, where the grass was blown by the wind.
Since the sound effect was intentionally very soft, it didn’t seem noisy at all. A girl with a pretty and graceful look was wearing her backpack, sitting by the window. Across from her were dozens of veterans with big red flowers on their chests.
Among the crowd, she only noticed him, and he also spotted her.
Under a wide brimmed military hat, he had a handsome and tough face, with a straight and tall figure. He had a pair of clear and slender eyes, very impressive.
Soon the train arrived at the station. Wearing her backpack, she hopped off the train. He also stepped down from the train with his slender long legs. He was behind her, and the two walked out of the train station to the bus stop.
Then they got on the same bus, she was at the front while he was in the back.
When they got off the bus, she walked into an alley, and he was just behind. She finally couldn’t help but turn around and stared at him, “Why are you following me?”
The veteran lightly looked at her, walked past her, to the front of a house, pulled his keys out of his pocket, and pushed the door in, without even taking a look at her.
The girl was standing still, astounded, later she walked into a house opposite his.
She turned out to be the new neighbor.
The picture shifted to the next morning. The girl hung the dripping backpack that she just washed, high on the clothesline in the yard, then she headed back into her room. A strong wind blew, and the backpack was blown away, over the fence, landing in the man’s yard.
He was reading in the yard, and looking down, he saw a red female backpack fall under his feet. That was followed by a close up on the backpack, showing its logo, Glamorous.
Then someone started to knock on the door, “Hello? Anyone here? My bag got blown into your yard.”
The man picked up the bag and walked to the gate.
Meanwhile, the audience assumed he would open the door and return the bag to her. Surprisingly, while walking past the big tree in the middle of the yard, he suddenly jumped up, and in one agile movement, hung the bag up in the high branches.
Then he opened the door, showing the girl in.
When she saw her bag, she was stunned, “How did it end up there?”
The young veteran calmly replied, “The wind was too strong.”
“What should I do? I can’t climb a tree.”
“I can, I’ll help you. Also, I still don’t know your name.”
The wind blew again, under the green and leafy trees, the fallen petals were lying everywhere.
She was in a simple dress, and he was in a simple shirt and trousers. The two were looking at each other, with a tree in the middle. The picture seemed to have stopped, freezing that moment into a beautiful eternity.
The the screen became black again, the romantic scene quickly disappeared.
At the center of the screen, the subtitle popped out, Glamorous Just For Her (in a low and tender male voice, “Just for her”).
Special Female Backpack Brand.
Lin City, Taiwan, Florence.
At the bottom, a row of small pictures of female bags appeared, colorful, decorated in a low profile.
In the end, the picture had gone dark again, all the subtitles had disappeared. After the beating of the drums, six characters were shown on the screen.
Glamorous to be continued … coming soon.
Following the ad the news returned to the television.
The room was quiet, and Gu Yanzhi grinned, holding his drink and watching the television, as if he was carefully reliving that moment.
Yet Li Zhicheng had put down his glass, and after a brief silence, he turned around, at stared at the grape vine outside the window.
The grape vine with luxuriant foliage and spreading branches, tangling all together. The moonlight shone through the vine, sparsely falling on the ground, all over the floor, lightly dotting in the color of silver white. Meanwhile, the moonlight also gleamed on his heart, lingering deep in his bones, and couldn’t be put into words.
If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc.. ), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.