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Empire Of The Ring 234 Gleaning 1

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The Kazakh government welcomed the railroad car joint business proposal from H Rotem. It was not just a joint venture but an exceptional proposal that suggested a technical partners.h.i.+p with a 70 percent localization rate.
Although Korean companies had partic.i.p.ated in the construction of petrochemical plants and thermal power plants in Kazakhstan, it was the first time for a Korean company to enter heavy industries such as railroad cars. Since a joint venture of heavy industries was helpful for the development of the defense industry, President Nazarbayev also showed a keen interest in the business.
H Rotem had advantages from the joint adventure but it was more interested in seizing the opportunity to secure raw materials from Kazakhstan. Since the country had an inexhaustible amount of minerals buried underground, the company was not going to refuse a chance to exchange their technology with them.


H Rotem's staffs were staying in a hotel in the city of Astana.
They were waiting to receive the vice-chairman and presidential group from the company's headquarters in Korea. While the staffs were waiting, Youngho met Koryoins governmental officials and other officials in the Ministry of Finance and Economy.
The person who introduced different officials to Youngho was indeed Kim Chun. Using all sorts of connections, he arranged meetings with different officials. The reason that Youngho and Kim Chun were trying their best to buy their hearts was to build the train car factory near Arirang Farm but any officials they met were opposed to the idea.
They agreed on the part that cars could be transported easily through the Caspian Sea and Ural River but they refused the idea since there were no infrastructures around the farm. There were neither a.s.sociated companies nor lodging capacity for factory workers nearby. It was a huge project that could not be managed by only 4,000 people of Arirang Farm's population.
They asked for Youngho's understanding, saying that it was best to build the factory where there was a medium-sized industrial complex nearby. Also, in their perspective, the most economical way to transport parts was to deliver them by Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok, not through the Caspian Sea.
It seemed that Youngho had achieved nothing so far from the railroad car factory establishment in Kazakhstan.

"Boss. I think it was too early for us to get excited. There's no gain in this. I'm a little b.u.mmed since we've been working hard to make the joint-venture work."

"Mr. Kim. Let's talk outside."

Since Kim Chun spoke bluntly and was complaining before Koryoin officials, Youngho had to take him outside quickly. The officials flinched whenever they heard the word 'boss' because, in Russian culture, the word was perceived negatively since there were a lot of mafias.
The people who called Youngho 'boss' frequently was Kim Ilkwon, Kim Chun, and Katya and especially Kim Chun, who took great pleasure in saying the word. He could call him 'Mr. Lee' outside out of courtesy but he did not mind other people at all.
When Youngho asked for his reason, he said that calling him 'boss' had more weight and it made him feel as if he belonged to a grand organization.

"Boss. It's painful to see H Rotem making money when we are the ones who worked for it."

"Nothing is confirmed yet. If we can't get the car factory, we'll work to build a parts factory near the farm. If that doesn't work, we'll ask for a free train for our farm."

***

The railroad car joint venture between H Rotem and the Kazakh government and minerals trade were confirmed and now the two parties came to sign an MOU.
Both parties were satisfied with agreement terms and they all were pleased. Now that Youngho had successfully established the relations.h.i.+p of the two parties, he began to promote his own business.
First of all, he tackled the transportation of the company's products.
The Kazakh government officials said that they would receive products from Korea through the port of Vladivostok and use the Trans-Siberian Railway from there. There was a gap from the port until the products were loaded in the railway trains and the company needed a place to store parts safely.
Even though Youngho did not intend for this situation to happen, he had a large-scale warehouse complex that he built in partners.h.i.+p with Yaniv.
He told Kim Joo-hyuk that he had a warehouse in Vladivostok that he managed. He emphasized the fact that it was cheaper and safer than other warehouses while slipping the fact that Vladivostok was a lawless place where even military weapons were frequently stolen by robbers.
Of course, Kim Joo-hyuk flipped. Train car parts were quite expensive since they were made out of special steels. Robbers might sell them at cheap prices but it would be a huge loss for the company.

"Mr. Lee. So, you're saying we'd be able to deliver parts here safely?"

"Yes, I can guarantee that. I have a security service company and some shares in a Russian mercenary company. If you leave the security and storage of your goods to us, I'll deliver every part safely without a scratch."

"It was our huge concern since there had been so many theft cases in Russia. We've had our products stolen frequently in the past. Even if we report thefts to Russian authorities, they don't really do anything to resolve the issue. I'll report to the vice-chairman to keep the train cars as well as other company's products in your warehouse and get permission to sign your company for transportation of the products."

As Youngho offered to resolve the company's old problem, Kim Joo-hyuk was exuberated. From this, he would be able to earn some scores from the vice-chairman.

"Thank you, Mr. Lee."

Youngho should be the one to thank him but Kim Joo-hyuk was thanking him instead. It seemed that he would be able to sign a contract with H Rotem soon.


It was the production of parts that Youngho focused the most from the joint-venture production of railroad cars. Although he could not bring the whole production of cars to Arirang Farm, he wanted to draw in at least some parts of the production.
If it was possible to produce core parts at Arirang Farm, the farm would attain a great technological prowess.
Some might say that train car production was nothing big but because foundry technologies such as making axles and wheels were applied, it was possible to switch to heavy weapons manufacturing. Since control devices were sophisticated enough, the technologies to make them could also be applied to other industries.
Now that he was in charge of parts storage and security of transportation of goods, it was time to weigh which parts would be more valuable for production. Since there was still time until the factory sites were a.s.signed, he was going to study more about train car parts. He would have to convince both the Kazakh government and H Rotem for building a parts factory at Arirang Farm.


By Kim Joo-hyuk's arrangement, Youngho could have a meeting with H Rotem's vice-chairman.
The chairman, who was in his late forties, seemed to be a serious man. He was different than many other people Youngho had met, who received their fortunes from their parents.
He politely welcomed Youngho and asked how he could reward him for his contribution to H Rotem.

"It'd be a lie if I said that I have no desire for money seeing that I'm a businessman, but I just wanted the country that I'm living in to acquire advanced technology, so it could compete with surrounding countries. This place has so many disputes and all I want for it is to become a stronger country. It will eventually help to secure my businesses as well."

Youngho intentionally did not ask for rewards since now was not the time. If he could have a technical tie-up with the company, that would make him more money in the future.


"After hearing your perspective, I now understand more about Kazakhstan. I also studied the countries near the Caspian Sea and they had gone through very unfortunate events. I admire your courage to start your own business somewhere like this."

"I had no other option but to leave Korea in order to survive. I could make it this far only because I was lucky."

"I'm sure that you didn't make it this far out of pure luck. You must have gone through many struggles in the meantime."

After sharing some personal stories, Youngho told the vice chairman what he wanted to hear. He offered to help the company so that it could maintain a good relations.h.i.+p with the government.
Although it was out of Youngho's hands now, he was in a position where he could ruin their relations.h.i.+p if he wanted to. It all depended on H Rotem and how they would treat Youngho. He did not want to favor the company just because it was Korean.

***

"Hey, you look great now that you're meeting with people who control the financial circles of Korea."

"Man, you've been going through troubles. I've got to say, without your support, we wouldn't have made it possible."

"Well, I didn't do much. All I did was teach Agent Smith some sundry skills."

Jong-il played a huge part in accomplis.h.i.+ng H Rotem and the Kazakh government's partners.h.i.+p. Since he used his special affinity to mobilize Michael, the chief of the CIA's European chapter, and Agent Smith of the U.S. Emba.s.sy. Those two had many connections with Kazakhstan's high officials and they eventually convinced many to act in favor of Youngho and H Rotem.
The CIA was in favor of the Korean company and Kazakhstan's heavy industry partners.h.i.+p since the development of heavy industry in Kazakhstan could suppress Russian influence in the country.
After Jong-il taught Agent Smith the fatal skills that he was dying to learn, he took the initiative in talking to CIA's officials and Kazakh officials into helping Youngho's business. He did his best since he also wanted to weaken Russia's power over the country.
Since Kazakhstan was also looking for ways to get out of Russia's influence over its economy, it was great timing for the government. Because Russian people still dominated 60 percent of the country's economy, H Rotem's technical partners.h.i.+p was a good way to develop the country's economic independence.

"Are we getting something out of this?"

"We are only acting as the Kazakh government's agency. We'll make everything work to our advantage before negotiation."

"Didn't you say that H Rotem was crazy over raw materials? We need to sell minerals from our mine."

"I already told them about it. They don't have any control over Russian mine owners but when I said that they can export the whole quant.i.ty, they were excited."

Kim Joo-hyuk the vice president earnestly asked for permission so that he could take credit for closing the minerals trade deal. When he frankly said that he wanted to be promoted to a president this time, Youngho could not help but laugh. Thinking that his openness was admirable, Youngho agreed that he would give him the credit.

As Youngho explained everything to Jong-il, he pushed him even farther asking if there were any other profitable businesses.

"Man, you're just too soft. Why would you do that without something for exchange?"

"He'll be our helper if he becomes president this time. He said that he'd be sending a great present by the end of the year. We'll see what he's up to."

"That man must be looking to expand the horizon for his company."

"He was interested in starting harbor construction in Atyrau. So, I told Mr. Kim to go for it."

"Why don't we stop helping other companies in making money, and start working on our own construction business instead?"

"Don't be hasty. We don't have technicians or technology. We'll lose a ton if we get ourselves involved in that."

"Clean your ears and listen, Mr. Boss. You can just get the agency commission for representing a company that lacks capabilities to win a contract."

Jong-il's idea impressed Youngho again. It would not be rewarding if Youngho did not recognize his idea. He hugged him tightly.

"Master!"

"Dude. You're gross."

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