Extraordinary Genius - Chapter 402 – Buying a computer
After finalizing the details of the agreement, Feng Yu called Fu Guangzheng to ask him to look for a location near to the Jinling branch factory to build a battery factory.
As usual, Fu Guangzheng invested some money for a 10% stake in the battery factory. He also arranged for the management staffs, and Tai Hua Trading will hire the staffs for the finance department.
Feng Yu made a call to Kirilenko and ordered a few battery production lines. He does not care whether if the production lines were used or brand new, as long as they were cheaper than the ones from Europe and US. China still does not have such advanced production lines. Overall, China’s industrial level was still below average compared to the rest of the world.
It was almost the end of February, and Feng Yu returned to Beijing. Li Na and the rest will return to Beijing a few days later. Feng Yu went to Zhongguancun to buy a computer.
Although there was still no good operating system now, the VCD will be launched soon. Feng Yu’s target was to use CD-ROM to replace floppy disk. He needs to look at the current computers had reached what standards and if it could use CD-ROM.
At a small shop, Feng Yu saw a few CRT monitors and some computer parts on display. A dirty looking man saw Feng Yu and warmly greet him: “Brother, what are you looking for? We have the most advanced 486 computers with internal storage of 8M, 3.5in floppy disk driver, most advanced video card, 420M hard disk, 14-inch CRT monitor, DOS system. You will not regret buying it!”
What? Feng Yu was shocked. Luckily, he was here to look around first. If he wasn’t here, he still does not know how backward the computers were in this era.
This was considered the most advanced? The CPU, internal storage, etc. could not even compare to a handphone in the future years. Hard disk space of 420M? Can it even store an HD movie?
The shop owner had recommended this computer proudly. Were these specs really the best?
“Boss, do you have anything that’s better?”
“These are the best secs available. The Government had also bought these computers. Which unit are you from and how many do you need? If you are buying a lot, I can give you some 3.5in floppy disk drive as free gifts.”
The shop owner had thought that Feng Yu was purchasing computers for his unit. Buying a personal computer? Stop kidding. Why would anyone buy a computer? Computers were too expensive and other than units, who would spend money to buy? Also, how many people know how to use computers?
In this era, all the elites in China who had received a higher education were mostly working in the government agencies or state-owned enterprises units. There was only a handful that started their own business. Maybe there might be more in the coastal regions but not a lot in Beijing.
How much did one 486 computers cost? 12,000 RMB! The current average annual salary was not even 1,600 RMB. Who would buy such an expensive item for personal use? It must be purchased for the units.
Even if it was purchasing for the units, it was different from the future years, where the shop owners will ask how many dozens or hundreds of computers. If one unit could afford two or more computers, it will be considered a big unit. Many units do not even have one computer.
The units in this era were only equipped with phone lines, fax, photocopier machines, and typewriters! Even scanners were rare.
In this era, the computers were still pre-assembled Monoblock computers. There was no such thing as self-assembled computers. The CPU was still placed horizontally below the monitor.
“Brother? Are you buying? Which unit are you from and how many do you need? Come on, speak up.” The shop owner was getting anxious.
There were not a lot of shops selling computers, and the shop owner must cherish every customer. The money he earned from selling one computer would be more than working for one year!
The series of questions from the shop owner woke Feng Yu from his daydream.
“What brands do you have?”
“We have IBM, DELL, Lenovo……”
“Wait, you have Lenovo computers?” Feng Yu heard Lenovo and immediately interrupted the shop owner.
Feng Yu remembered that Lenovo was set up in the 1980s and started from manufacturing Chinese language card. It was in the 1990s when they ventured into the personal computers industry. He did not know that Lenovo had its own computers now.
Feng Yu rubbed his chin. He thought if he could recruit Liu Chuanzhi and the rest from Lenovo. Lenovo had not undergone restructuring and was still a subsidiary of a research facility. Liu Chuanzhi and the rest should still be getting salaries.
They should have other thoughts when the company was making so much money, and they do not have a share. But if Feng Yu were to poach them over, he will have to set up a research facility for them. This would be a considerable investment.
“Brother, do you want to buy Lenovo computer?” The shop owner pointed to a computer and asked.
“How much is this computer?” Feng Yu pointed to the Lenovo computer and asked.
“Are you buying one unit?”
“One unit is enough.”
The shop owner was slightly disappointed: “I will give you a discount. 11,800 RMB. Do you need a receipt?”
Feng Yu smiled and said: “10,000 RMB!”
The shop owner jumped: “10,000 RMB? Impossible! This is the latest model. You can ask around in Zhongguancun. No shops are selling this cheap. The lowest I can go is 11,500 RMB!”
Feng Yu: “10,000 RMB!”
“Are you a serious buyer? This is a computer and not a game console. This is not the way to bargain. I had already offered you a discount, and you should not insist on the price.”
“I only have 10,000 RMB, and I am not buying for any unit. I am buying on behalf of my boss.”
“How about 11,000 RMB? I can write you a 12,000 RMB receipt. You can bring the receipt back and claim from your boss.” The shop owner moved closer and said softly. He does not believe that Feng Yu only had 10,000 with him. He thinks that Feng Yu had said this to bargain with him.
Feng Yu looked at the shop owner speechlessly. Nowadays shop could write receipts this way? It was a pity that he was buying the computer for himself. No matter what amount was written on the receipt, he still has to pay.
“10,000 RMB. Not a single cent more. If you are not selling, I will go to other shops. You had said that you are not the only one selling this computer in Zhongguancun. If you do not want to sell, other shops will be willing.”
“eh, brother, don’t go. Let’s discuss. How about 10,800 RMB? This is an auspicious number.” The shop owner pulled Feng Yu back.
Feng Yu looked at the shop owner without any expression: “10,000RMB!”
The shop owner was going crazy. This was the type of customer he was afraid of. Only insist on a specific price and refuse to bargain. Could it be that this kid knew what his cost price was? Domestic produced computers were much cheaper than imported ones. If he sells this unit for 10,000 RMB, he would still make a few hundred RMB of profits. But his shop rarely has any customers. Sometimes, he might be able to sell one or two computers in a month. His rent was high and had invested a lot in these computers. He had even sold his house to set up this shop!
Feng Yu was clear that imported computers would cost about 12,000 RMB, but local computers should be much cheaper. It does not need to pay so much taxes. Lenovo had only bought some parts and assembled it together, making it its own product. Other than the outer casing and the Chinese language card inside, the rest were not manufactured by them.
That was the reason why Feng Yu thinks that 10,000 RMB was a reasonable price. The shop owner would still be able to make some profits.
“Fine, fine, fine. I am scared of you. 10,000 RMB and the receipt will also be 10,000 RMB!”
“Okay. Write the receipt.”
Translator notes: Zhongguancun is a technology hub in Haidian District, Beijing, China. It is very well known in China, and is often referred to as “China’s Silicon Valley”. There are five prominent IT and electronics markets. They are technology bazaars, famous for their “shops with a shop”, where prices are easily but grudgingly bargained. Zhongguancun shops mainly deal in PC-compatible hardware, peripherals, and software.