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Chapter 230: They Have No Choice but to Choose Great Wu!
“Fourthly, under the current situation, all major merchants can only choose Great Wu!” Lin Beifan smiled and said, “Now, everyone in the world knows that the major vassal kings have rebellious intentions and are hostile to our court! If merchants do business with the vassal kings, they will undoubtedly be rejected by our court! Moreover, the vassal kings have mutual enmity between them! Therefore, merchants can only do business with one faction!”
“In this comparison, our court has abundant raw material resources and produces high-quality and affordable cement. Besides, we have a vast market. Only foolish merchants would choose others over us!”
The Empress clapped her hands once again, saying, “Well said! Very well said!”
“Fifthly, besides granting the major merchants distribution rights for cement, we have also provided them with generous tax incentives. However, the vassal kings are only interested in making money, so they won’t be favored by the merchants either!”
“There’s also the sixth point!” Lin Beifan glanced at the civil and military officials around him and smiled, “We have the advantage of seizing the opportunity to attract all the wealthy people in the world! They are investing a massive amount of resources in our new city, and the costs are enormous. They will undoubtedly need a return on investment!”
“If they switch allegiance at this point, they won’t recover these losses. So, they are already tied to Great Wu’s ship and have no choice but to choose Great Wu!”
The Empress burst into laughter, laughing heartily as she clapped her hands, saying, “Sir Lin, you’ve said it so well! I was a bit worried before, but now that I’ve heard your words, I realize there’s no need to worry at all!”
Other officials looked at Lin Beifan’s triumphant expression and silently cursed him in their hearts for being cunning.
At this time, in the northern region of Hebei.
The Pince of Northern Hebei still dreamt of getting rich.
Almost every day, he called his military advisor for inquiries.
“Advisor, how is the situation with attracting investments? How many people have signed up?” The Pince of Northern Hebei asked eagerly.
The military advisor, Mr. Zhuge, remained calm and respectfully clasped his hands, “Reporting to Your Highness, the investment call has just been announced to the world, and the work has just begun. As of now, there are no wealthy merchants who have come to register. However, I believe that in a few days, there will be a flood of applicants!”
The Pince of Northern Hebei patted the military advisor’s shoulder with relief, “Advisor, you’re right. I was too anxious!”
Another day passed, and the Pince of Northern Hebei once again summoned his military advisor.
“Advisor, how is the situation today?”
Mr. Zhuge remained composed, “Reporting to Your Highness, as of now, there are still no applicants. I suspect they received the news yesterday and started their journey to Northern Hebei today. There should be good news in the next two days!”
The Pince of Northern Hebei smiled, “Advisor, you are absolutely right! In the next two days, there should be good news coming!”
On the third day, the Pince of Northern Hebei couldn’t resist calling his military advisor again.
“Advisor, what’s the situation today? Have any wealthy merchants come to invest?”
Mr. Zhuge remained composed and self-assured, “Your Highness, today no one has come! It’s possible that the long journey has left them tired, so they took a day to rest and prepare before coming tomorrow! After all, these prominent merchants value etiquette, and it’s not surprising for them to take their time. Your Highness, you can expect good news from me soon!”
“I trust you, advisor!”
The fourth day, the fifth day…
Every day, the Pince of Northern Hebei called for the military advisor’s input.
However, the news he received was that there were still no applicants, and the situation seemed to make no progress at all.
Gradually, even Mr. Zhuge started to lose his composure.
It had been five days, and there was still no sign of anyone?
On Lin Beifan’s side, on the second day of the announcement, a group of wealthy merchants immediately came from the capital city.
On the third day, merchants from neighboring cities arrived.
On the fourth day, even wealthy aristocrats and prominent merchants from farther locations rushed over.
In the following days, the phrase “applicants like clouds” and “the entrance crowded like a marketplace” perfectly described the scene.
Why was the situation completely different here?
Five days had passed, and not a single person appeared. The entrance remained cold and deserted. It was a pitiful sight.
Where had these wealthy merchants gone?
Could it be that they had gone to other vassal kings?
Gradually, the Pince of Northern Hebei became a little impatient, “Advisor, it’s been nearly a week. Why have we not seen anyone? Even if they are in Wuxi, they should have come by now. Can you explain this to me?”
Mr. Zhuge was full of sweat on his face, “Your Highness, I suspect there might be some issues.”
“What kind of issues?” The Pince of Northern Hebei pressed.
“Uh… um…” Mr. Zhuge’s face became even sweatier.
He racked his brains to come up with an excuse, but the Pince of Northern Hebei noticed the situation and left with an unpleasant expression, leaving his hands behind his back, “Advisor, if there is still no good news tomorrow, you handle it!”
“Your Highness! Your Highness, please listen to me…” Mr. Zhuge hurriedly chased after him, but he couldn’t catch up with the king’s steps.
His heart was filled with bitterness because he knew that the king was genuinely angry.
When the king became angry, it was terrifying!
“It seems that we can only handle it this way for now!” Mr. Zhuge clenched his teeth.
In the evening, he invited the wealthy merchants from the city.
But the result was disheartening. Only a few merchants showed up, and the scale of their businesses was meager, just over twenty to thirty thousand liang. Many of them were not even well-known. Mr. Zhuge furrowed his brows, “Why are there only a few of you? Where are the others?”
The merchants at the scene exchanged glances, and one of the more prestigious merchants bowed and smiled bitterly, “Mr. Zhuge, the others have already left Northern Hebei and are doing business outside!”
Mr. Zhuge furrowed his brows even more, “Doing business outside? Isn’t Northern Hebei suitable?”
“This…” The merchants looked at each other, remaining silent.
Mr. Zhuge then realized that the previous issues with bandits had a more significant impact than he had imagined!
“Let’s forget about them today,” Mr. Zhuge changed the subject, revealing what he thought was a friendly smile. “Today, I’ve called you all here because there’s an opportunity for you! If you seize it tightly, you will surely have a wide source of wealth and make a fortune!”
“What opportunity are you talking about, Mr. Zhuge?” someone asked.
“The miraculous invention of cement for building houses, have you heard of it?” Mr. Zhuge said temptingly, “Our royal family can also produce cement! So, this is your chance to get rich!”
After explaining this matter, Mr. Zhuge left contentedly. He believed that these merchants, upon knowing they had the chance to obtain the distribution rights for cement, would be ecstatic and grateful to tears. With that, he could give a satisfactory account to the king.
However, after he left, the merchants present wore bitter expressions.
“If I knew earlier, I would have left too!”
“They said they would give us the distribution rights for cement? Hmph! Clearly, they want to profit from us!”
“That’s right. To obtain the distribution rights for cement, we have to provide a substantial amount of resources! But after the bandit trouble, where do we have any money left?”
“Even if we obtain the distribution rights for cement, there are poor people everywhere. Where can we sell it?”
“Your Highness, it seems like you want to squeeze every penny out of us, leaving us with nothing!”
“I’m afraid that once we get rich, the bandits will come back again! Ah, life is really unbearable!”
At this moment, an older merchant gritted his teeth and said, “Fellow merchants, it’s not too late to leave now! If we don’t leave, we really won’t have a way out!”
They glanced at each other and nodded heavily.
The next day, within the royal palace.
The Pince of Northern Hebei called for Mr. Zhuge once again.
“Advisor, how is the situation now? I want the truth, don’t try to deceive me!” This time, Mr. Zhuge was full of confidence and patted his chest, saying, “Your Highness, rest assured! In fact, some wealthy merchants already contacted me last night, expressing their interest in cement! In the time it takes for an incense stick to burn, they will come together!”
“Is that so? I happen to have some time, I’ll wait with you!” The Pince of Northern Hebei smiled.
As a result, the time it took for an incense stick to burn passed, but still, not a single person showed up.
Another time it took for an incense stick to burn, yet no one appeared.
The Pince of Northern Hebei’s face gradually darkened, and his gaze at Mr. Zhuge contained some anger.
Mr. Zhuge was in a panic and said, “Your Highness, they might have been delayed by something. Let me send someone to urge them to come!”
As a result, the messenger quickly returned, “Mr. Zhuge, it’s not good! I went to their homes and stores, but they are all empty! They’ve all… run away!”
“What? They ran away?” Mr. Zhuge slumped down.
The other vassal kings also didn’t fare well.
In the land of Southern Jiang, merchants gathered, and in theory, they should have been able to find cement distributors. However, the Pince of Southern Jiang had a troubled expression. At the beginning, he invited wealthy merchants to sell cement, and there was a relatively positive response. However, as soon as they heard that they could only exchange it for grain, their expressions immediately changed, and they all refused.
Having experienced floods and the devastating fire, grain was scarce in Southern Jiang, and its price had reached three to four times the normal price. Many people couldn’t afford to buy grain anymore, even the wealthy merchants had limited supplies and could only provide for their own people.
Now, the Pince of Southern Jiang wanted to exchange cement for grain. Wasn’t this making a fuss? People could live without houses, but they couldn’t go without food! As a result, both parties got into an argument, and the cement business fell apart.
In the midst of this, Wang Fugui returned with a troubled face. The Pince of Southern Jiang, filled with hope, asked, “How is it? Did they agree? I’ve already offered a discounted price for the cement!”
Wang Fugui spread his hands, looking bitter, “Your Highness, they still refuse to exchange, but they are willing to pay in money!”
The Pince of Southern Jiang jumped up in anger, “Does this king lack money? What I lack is grain! Go back and tell them, this king wants only grain! Only grain! Only grain!”
At this moment, a general rushed over, “Your Highness, we’re running out of grain! If there’s no food, the soldiers below will riot! What should we do?”
The Pince of Southern Jiang’s eyes flashed with fierceness, “Since they won’t cooperate, this king can only resort to plundering!”
In the end, the cement business was not successful, but the Pince of Southern Jiang ended up seizing all the grain brought by the merchants, turning them into beaten dogs who dared not speak up.
In the land of Wuxi, under the strong support of the Duke of Wuxi, Mr. Fengchu held a grand and prosperous business conference. However, on the day of the conference, not a single person showed up, and it turned out to be a lonely affair.