Chapter 19: Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“I have a plan,” Li Zhicheng said gradually, “I’ll outflank SMQ.”
Lin Qian was a bit confused. The first thing that came to her mind was Li Zhicheng’s lack of experience. Was “outflank SMQ” what she understood it to be?
What it meant to outflank a competitor, was to blaze a trail to besiege the rival.
Burger King’s “grilled but not fried” strategy to challenge Mcdonald’s and KFC was a foreign example. Domestically, Shunfeng Express’s insistence on air transport made it to the top of the industry after being in the market for only a short while.
In the former instance, it was impossible for McDonald’s or KFC to substitute their fried chicken on a global scope; and in the latter one, other express delivery companies couldn’t just give up their original land transportation and change the whole internal logistics process just to buy new planes.
The trick to succeed in outflanking was not to introduce brand-new products that had never been seen in the market, but to make the products competitive in an original way and to make the existing market leader incapable of emulating them.
Outflanking was much more difficult than it seemed.
Lin Qian stared at Li Zhicheng after hearing this. Aida was struggling to merely survive now. How could it possibly outflank SMQ?
Li Zhicheng just looked at her, calmly and steadily.
Lin Qian looked at the documents he had just brought. She was astounded after reading only a few lines.
Li Zhicheng dared to…
Chen Zheng was very complacent these days.
The Ming Sheng project was not going to be highly profitable. But from his perspective, this move succeeded in both challenging New Bori and suppressing Aida.
One must think in the long term if he wanted to be the lead in such a meager-profit industry.
When his subordinates brought up some doubts about the Ming Sheng project, he immediately dismissed them.
“Mr. Chen, we promised Ming Sheng Group in our bidding document that our supply price won’t be 30 yuan more expensive than that of the similar products on the market. And in the past, we have always provided an 11-percent discount on our luxurious bags. Should we do that this year? Will Ming Sheng ask us to further lower our price if they know?”
Chen Zheng sneered upon hearing this. “Do you really think a huge group like Ming Sheng will care about our price? Don’t worry about it. We’ll continue this year.”
The subordinate nodded his head and said, “And by the way, our supply cycle is three months, which means in the coming few months, we will be in shortage of high-end bags.”
Chen Zheng thought for a moment and said, “As long as we can pull through these months then everything will be fine. Don’t lose a great deal by trying to save a little. Our focus should be the Ming Sheng project now.”
After the subordinate left, Chen Zheng sat in his chair, swirled around, looked at the scenery outside and started to contemplate.
Indeed, he wasn’t worried about the issues brought up just now. For domestic manufacturers, sales of high-end bags only made up a small portion; it was borderline meaningless, though it was not bad enough to be given up. However, it was also like an appealing yet poisonous fruit, an unattainable Arcadia. There was no way one could possibly compete with those foreign luxury brands. Aida had tried that before, and look where it had gotten them now?
What did he need to worry about? Aida’s insurgency by a sharp increase of high-end bags sales? Even New Bori couldn’t accomplish that, not to mention the company was being run by that inflexible soldier and the only-slightly-witted Lin Qian.
He shook his head, assuring himself that was impossible.
However, his spy in Aida had been discovered, which was a bit unfortunate. But he had nevertheless sent the full text of Aida’s tender, helping him strike a deadly blow to Aida. He also hadn’t confessed anything in the holding cell and hadn’t brought any trouble to SMQ. In a way, he’d “retired” after winning merit.
Lin Qian took the elevator from the top floor to the floors below and arrived at the marketing department first.
In contrast to being desolate in the past, the department was fraught with people today. Even the office of the general accounting department downstairs had been temporarily taken over.
Following the CEO’s orders, two hundred employees with great sales records, a willingness to stay at Aida, and more than three years experience were called upon to the headquarters and had formed this temporary “customer services center.”
Lin Qian walked through the office area hearing phones ringing, typing, and footsteps, all of which made a person tense. She walked into the office of marketing. Xue Mingtao beamed upon seeing her. “Ms. Lin, you have a good grip on literature. Would you mind helping me check what I just wrote?”
Lin Qian smiled and walked to him, took the paper, read it and nodded her head, “I think it’s pretty good.”
Xue Mingtao looked a bit tired. He stared at the staff all buried in work and said, “They’ve been doing overtime for a whole week sending messages and emails to thirty thousand old customers. What they’ll now do is call them one by one, starting tomorrow. I hope we can have a good start when the project starts.”
After inspecting the process of the marketing department, Lin Qian took the elevator down to the IT department.
She was still holding the document Xue Mingtao had just given her. It was the full text of emails and messages the temporary customer services center sent to old customers. And these old customers had bought middle-end or high-end bags in one of Aida’s branches in the past three years.
“Thank you so much for your support for Aida. We will have a 60%-off special promotion in our online flagship store on the fifth day of this month. Only the first 2,000 people can get the discount. One bag for each account with a one-million-yuan giveaway. The odds of winning are 100%. This promotion is for online sales only and we are doing it for our old customers.
“President of Aida,
This is how Li Zhicheng planned to outflank SMQ. The idea was very simple: a price discount.
However, a price discount was something everything would and was able to do. Doing it effectively was the real challenge.
When Lin Qian had first seen Li Zhicheng’s plan, she was amazed. It was a very simple trick, but it was delicately arranged—an idea that could only come from someone with experience. And there was no better time to do it than now.
First of all, it appealed to the old customers who knew and recognized the quality of Aida’s products, which gave them a great chance to get a good sales record at the beginning.
And then, the goal of this plan was to attract the customers from second- and third-tier cities. In other words, Li Zhicheng wished to use the lower-priced high-end bags to win over the middle-end bag market currently dominated by SMQ. Selling online was also probably the fastest way to build their reputation.
What Li Zhicheng was doing now was exactly what people in Aida had wanted to do but never actually had after its decline. And it was a strategy the other two companies were incapable of implementing now.
In the past SMQ could have done it and could have even entered a price war with them. But due to the Ming Sheng project, the prices and supplies of high-end bags would be significantly impacted, exhausting their capacity to fight back in such a short term.
For New Bori, it was an enormous corporation that could not suddenly change its pricing system. If they did, not only Aida would be affected, but New Bori’s current middle-end-product market would be affected as well.
Wasn’t this exactly the best time to strike?
When the elevator stopped, Lin Qian thought to herself, If this were Lin Mocheng’s doing, I would definitely suspect him of intentionally losing the Ming Sheng project. The market we’re targeting now is much larger. We have no competition at the moment, and we have a high possibility of seeing huge profits. The Ming Sheng project’s pyrrhic victory would be nothing compared to this.
But it was Li Zhicheng who had seen this path when Aida’s very existence was at stake, and he had come up with the entire plan without any mentoring. She had to admit that he was a genius with unshakeable dedication and perseverance.
As for the kiss.
Neither of them had mentioned it, and what happened in the past should stay in the past. I know for sure that he was just being impulsive that night. I guess I was kind of taken advantage of somehow, but whatever.
The sun started to set.
The IT Department had designated a small office for Lin Qian. She sat in front of her computer, skimming the anonymous articles to be posted online. They had been written by different designated posters from the IT Department.
This had been her suggestion and Li Zhicheng at first hadn’t given a clear response to ut. But he ended up giving her the job, so she needed to be extra watchful over it.
“Inside news from netizens: Famous brand Aida will sell its high-end bags at 50%, discount for old customers only…”
“Aida’s online flagship store’s address please!”
“Can the quality of domestic high-end bags compare to foreign ones?”
“Shopping List: This same bag was 800 dollars in American stores,” (with picture) “but only 300 dollars here. I’ve saved a lot!”
Lin Qian made alterations while scrolling through the pages.
Not bad, not bad. This is something we should keep up with, feted but controversial. Gaining public attention is the major task.
After finishing with her corrections, she thought for a while, opened a new document and started typing.
“It’s rumored that Aida is supported by the military.”
Right as she typed these few works, a familiar voice came in. “When did Aida gain military support?”
Lin Qian was dumbfounded; she turned her head and looked at him. “Mr. Li…” She started to secretly curse him. Boss, you’re a CEO now, not a member of the special forces. Don’t come and go without a trace. It’s so scary.
Li Zhicheng seemed not to realize that he could sometimes intimidate others. He sternly he stared at her screen and asked, “What is this?”
“Umm…You know, Mr. Li, there’re lots of misleading information online. Ordinary people think executives at the military are mysterious. It’s for our plan in three days.”
Li Zhicheng glanced at her without saying anything.
Lin Qian rejoiced at her heart, knowing he had just given tacit consent. Although Boss played by the book, he was actually very intelligent. He must have known what she meant.
Boss is becoming “sneakier.”
All of a sudden, Li Zhicheng bent over with one hand on the back of her chair and the other on the desk, and said, “Let me see the others.”
Lin Qian went numb for a second.
He had originally been standing right behind her. After bending over like this, the side of his face was so close to her hair that they were almost touching. She could smell his natural male scent—just like that night.
However, he did this sequence of moves naturally, like a boss inspecting his juniors’ work. And he looked exactly the same: calm and concentrated without any other thoughts.
Lin Qian blushed with butterflies in her stomach. She was just about to stand up. “Please sit, Mr. Li.”
Before she could finish, he pressed his hands down on her shoulders and said, “No need.”
Lin Qian’s heart skipped a beat.
A weird thought struck her.
This is incredible. Why is he playing this kind of flirtationship with me? Is he doing it on purpose? Or am I being too sensitive?