SURPRISE!!! It’s been way too long and I’m back with a special gift. Since you’ve seen the title, then you’ve guessed it. Haha.
Yes, we’re be picking up Our Glamorous Times by one of my all-time favorite author Ding Mo. I’ve been reading her psychological series and fell instantly in love. Since I watched a few of their drama adaptations and found out that this one was also adapted (starring my beloved Zhao Li Ying!) and will be airing next year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Anyway, I said we’re because, unfortunately, my Mandarin is nowhere good enough to tread into Ding Mo’s descriptive writing, so I found us a translator who’s willing to put with me for this project. Hence, translation credit will go to iijm.
As for those awaiting the next chapter of DPF, it’ll be up pretty soon. 😀
“I have a plan,” Li Zhicheng said without the hint of a hurry. “I am going to launch a flanking counterattack on Smecki.”
Lin Jian blinked. Her first thought was, Li Zhicheng had zero business experience. The “flanking” he spoke of, did it mean what she thought it meant?
A “flanking attack,” as the name implied, probably referred to finding an alternative approach in order to outflank the opponent.
Overseas, one of the most famous examples was Burger King’s “Broiling vs. Frying” that caught KFC and McDonald’s in their blind spot. In China, there was SF Express that persevered with fast air delivery, then overtook its predecessors as a latecomer to become a well-known brand in the express delivery service industry.
In the former case, McDonalds and KFC couldn’t possibly have replaced their chicken-frying installations all over the globe, hence they could only watch Burger King jump into that opening and grow, seizing a share of the profits. In the latter case, the other express delivery companies in China couldn’t abandon their former land transport equipment either, alter their entire internal operation flow, then start afresh and go buy planes.
The main aspect of a flanking didn’t lie in pushing out new products that didn’t exist in the market. Rather, your things had to have a new competitive edge, and the existing market leaders had to be temporarily unable to imitate you and fight back.
Hence, it was easy to talk about outflanking, and the results, of course, were very wonderful when you thought about them, but it was something very hard to put into action.
Lin Jian opened her eyes wide and looked at Li Zhicheng. It was hard right now for Aida to even survive. Where would they find the strength and opportunity to mount a surprise flanking raid?
Li Zhicheng looked back at her, his face unclouded, his black eyes serene and confident.
Lin Jian’s gaze once again fell on the documents he handed her moments ago. Her heart and mind shook as soon as she read a few lines.
Li Zhicheng, he actually…
Chen Zheng was rather proud and complacent these past few days.
There wasn’t much money to be made from the Ming Sheng deal. But in his opinion, whether it was against Xin Baorui’s “remote attack” or against Aida’s “close defense,” this chess move he made was the right one.
To become king in this industry where profits were low and competition intense, one had to set one’s sights at the long-term.
So, this afternoon, when his subordinates mentioned some complications arising from the Ming Sheng deal, he was rather of a different mind.
“Director Chen, we promised Ming Sheng in our bidding tender that we won’t exceed 30% of the retail price of similar products in the market. The Spring Festival is coming soon. In previous years, we had 80-90% promotional sales on high-grade luxury bags at this time of the year. Should we do it again this time? If by any chance Ming Sheng catches wind of it, what should we do if they try to push the prices down again?”
Chen Zheng actually smiled when he heard. “Do you really think a conglomerate as big as Ming Sheng would be so petty-minded? It’s more or less a gesture of goodwill, are they really going to stare at our retail prices without letting go? It’s fine, do it.”
The subordinate nodded. He said again, “In addition, our supply-cycle is three months. This means that in the following few months, the supply of top-grade bags in our stores will be extremely tight. We could run out of stock.”
Chen Zheng thought a bit. He answered, “Drop it. It’s fine as long as we bear it for a few months. No need to save a little only to lose a lot. The important thing right now is to latch on tight to the Ming Sheng deal.”
After his subordinates left, Chen Zheng leaned back in the boss’ chair and spun a few times in place. He looked at the endless stream of men and cars outside the windows, his face pensive.
He truly wasn’t worried about the issues raised earlier. Because for domestic producers, the sales of luxury bags were chicken ribs to begin with: tasteless as food, but meaty enough to give away; it was also like a sweet yet poisonous fruit, one you could look at but shouldn’t try to obtain. You simply couldn’t fight against these international luxury brands. Didn’t Aida throw away their riches to pursue this dream? And now, where were they at?
So, why should he be worried? Should he be afraid of Aida’s counterattack from a tight spot, that they’d suddenly make something out of high-grade bag sales? Something even Bao Xinrui couldn’t do, was it something the big dumb soldier and that clever but petty-minded Lin Jian could achieve? He shook his head and laughed in spite of himself – that was impossible.
Rather, he was pretty regretful the mole planted in Aida was found out this time. That said, that person sent over Aida’s entire submission the night before the tender bidding, and helped him complete a lethal blow against Aida. After he got found out, he kept his mouth tight-lipped like a closed bottle in the detention center and didn’t create any trouble for Smecki. You could say he retired after his great achievement and died a worthy death.
One week later.
Lin Jian rode down the elevator from the top floor. The first place she stopped at was the floor was the marketing department operated.
The department, once apathetic and more desolate each day from the last, was instead packed with people today like a banquet with no empty seats left. They’d even temporarily expropriated the financial department’s area in the floor below.
All this was by the director-general’s written commands. 200 outstanding employees had been transferred over. Their achievements were outstanding in comparison with their colleagues, and they still wished to stay in Aida, and all of them had at least 3 years of seniority within the company. They formed a temporary “Customer Center.”
Lin Jian went through the office area. Along the way, she kept hearing the ring of telephones, the pounding of keyboards, the incessant steps, as though even someone’s heart would tense when they heard. Xue Mingtao smiled when he saw her as soon as she entered the marketing director’s office. “Assistant Lin, your writing is good, so come here and help me have a look.”
Lin Jian smiled slightly as well and went closer. She took the paper he handed her, read it, then nodded. “I think it’s very good.”
Xue Mingtao looked through the glass door at the busy employees outside, sighing with feeling yet exhausted at the same time. He said, “We worked overtime for a week. At long last, we’re done sending the mail and texts to our thirty thousand longstanding customers. What’s left is to start calling them one by one, starting tomorrow morning. I hope that we’ll meet with success the day we set our project in motion.”
After observing the marketing department’s progress, Lin Jian took the elevator down again and proceeded toward the IT department.
She still held some documents Xue Mingtao had given her just moments ago. Those were the texts, or perhaps emails, the “Customer Center” sent to the longstanding customers. These customers were those who once bought middle-grade or high-grade bags from Aida’s national stores during the past three years.
“Respectfully, Mr. Li X: Thank you for supporting Aida’s bags and luggage in the past. On the 5th of this month, our company will launch a 40% promotional sale on luxury bags in our flagship online store, limited to the first 2000 persons, capped to one bag for every account. At the same time, we will also give out prizes in the millions. The prize-winning probability is 100%. Said activity is limited to the online sale as a gesture of thanks to longstanding customers…”
This was precisely the core of the flanking Li Zhicheng wanted to launch on Smecki – very simple, simply drive the prices down.
However, undercutting was something anyone knew how to do, something everyone could do. How to do it effectively though, this was something that required great knowledge.
When Lin Jian first saw Li Zhicheng’s plan, she was really taken aback. Because after mulling over it carefully, it was a very simple move, but every single step of the plan was as flawless as seamless heavenly robes. It was completely something a business veteran could come up with. Also, it was truly a fortunate timing to push for it, as though heaven and earth and men had come together at the same time.
The plan first started with longstanding customers with comparatively high loyalty. They were the ones who had the best understanding of the quality of Aida’s goods and also identified themselves with this brand. This way, they could be greatly assured about the initial sales, before widening the scope from there.
Next, the goal of this flanking was very clear-cut – the main customer groups in second- and third-tier cities. In other words, Li Zhicheng wanted to use a low-price, low-profits strategy to seize Smecki’s biggest middle-grade bag markets with high-grade bags.
Next, an online sale was the fastest and cheapest way to strike at the public consciousness.
Whether it ended in success or failure, what Lin Zhicheng did this time was precisely what Aida had always wanted to do ever since their decline but never could. Also, it was even something others couldn’t do.
Smecki would have been able to do so previously, and they would even have been certain to go into a pricing war with them. But the Ming Sheng deal had a huge impact on their high-grade bag pricing and their cash reserve. It was definitely impossible for them in the short term to snipe them off.
In Xin Baorui’s case, they were a great company with many properties. It was simply impossible for them to throw their own pricing system into chaos for the sake of fighting with Aida – because, if they did so, it wouldn’t hit only Aida, but also their own middle-grade goods markets.
Wasn’t this precisely every condition coming together for the perfect opportunity?
When the elevator stopped, Lin Jian thought, if Lin Mochen had been the one doing that, she really would have suspected him of losing the Ming Sheng deal on purpose. Because this market was even bigger, and there was temporarily no one left to defend it. The scope of the profits they could gain was also bigger, far from what a narrow victory in the Ming Sheng deal could have brought.
But since it was Li Zhicheng, for him to see a path through at this juncture, while they were at the edge of the precipice, and for him to think of the whole plan as a self-taught man, she could only sigh with feeling at her previous conclusion: he was truly a genius, and his willpower was also tenacious enough to move you.
As to that kiss last time…
Neither of them had mentioned it these past few days. This thing should be behind them now, right? She just knew it. He’d merely been impulsive that night, his feeling stirred by reminiscence of the past. Though she lost out a bit, but… oh well!
The sun started to set.
The IT department especially left an office for Lin Jian. Sitting at the computer, she looked page by page at the IT’s “Five Cents Army,” the anonymous articles they would launch and hype on the internet starting from tomorrow.
This was her proposal. Li Zhicheng had looked calm and indifferent back then. He didn’t express approval and didn’t express disapproval either. In the end, he left her in charge of this part.
Hence she had to keep a watchful eye on it.
“Scoop from an internet friend: Well-known domestic brand Aida will have a fifty percent sale of high-grade bags in three days, they only notified the news about the sale to their longstanding customers…”
“Looking for Aida’s online shop’s address.”
“Can high-grade bags manufactured in China really compare in quality to those made abroad?”
“Sharing shopping lists: This bag is indeed priced at 800 dollars in Aida’s US store (picture attached). Now you can buy it in China for the equivalent of fewer than 300 dollars, it’s a huge deal.”
Lin Jian looked through them one by one, deleting some and correcting some. Not bad, not bad, it was precisely the key she wanted to strike. There was advertising and there was controversy. As long as the hype took, everything would be easy.
After making her alterations, she thought a moment, then started another new blank file and started to type:
“Aida rumored to be backed by the army…”
As soon as she typed these few words, she heard a familiar voice above her head: “Since when did the army start backing Aida?”
This voice coming out of nowhere made Lin Jian suddenly quiver from head to toe. She turned her head around and looked at him: “… Director Li.” She couldn’t stop silently swearing at him in her mind: Boss, you’re the director-general now, not a special force soldier. Stop coming and going like a ghost. It’s very scary, alright?
Li Zhicheng looked as though he was entirely unaware of the disturbance he brought. Grave and stern, he looked attentively at her screen. “What’s that?”
Lin Jian: “Oh.. this. Director Li, I’m sure you know, there are many things on the net that look real but are fake. The army higher-ups are pretty mysterious for the common folk. I write it like that to boost our campaign in three days.”
Li Zhicheng threw her a glance. He didn’t say anything.
Lin Jian felt a sudden happiness. She knew he had tacitly acquiesced. The boss was pretty stubborn and pretty honest, but he was still a very smart man. He must have understood her meaning for sure.
The boss was also slowly changing – becoming “wicked.”
Just then, Li Zhicheng suddenly stooped down. He put one hand on the back of her chair, rested another hand on the table, and said, “Let me look at the rest.”
Lin Jian suddenly froze.
He had already been standing behind her previously. Now that he stooped down, his cheek was almost pasted to her hair. His body was also very close to hers. She could almost smell again the faint smell of a man from his body, just like that night back then.
Yet his series of movements flowed extremely naturally, just like an ordinary situation between a superior and subordinate, where the superior consulted the result of a subordinate’s work. And the expression on his face was also thus: calm, focused, without a hint of a distracting thought.
Lin Jian’s cheek heated all of a sudden. “Thump, Thump,” there was also some unsteadiness to her heartbeat. She tried to stand up: “Director Li, please sit…” Something pressed down on her shoulder before her voice fell. He easily pushed her down. “No need.”
Lin Jian’s heart trembled faintly once again.
A strange thought flashed through her mind: eh, it makes no sense. Why was he acting ambiguous like a veteran at games between men and women? Or maybe it was really unintentional, and she was the one being too sensitive?
Haha. This couple really… Li Zhicheng really know how to sneak his way into her heart. LOL.
Hope you guys enjoy the chapter. We don’t have a set schedule yet but we’re releasing once a week on Saturday, starting next week. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!!! 😀