Chapter 304: A most special friend
Zhang Xingke had helped quite a bit with Li Wan’er’s matter previously. Xu Tingsheng had not called him at all, not even having said a word of thanks, because it had not been necessary. As for Zhang Xingke, perhaps because he was too busy with his new company or because of a tacit understanding that this matter was not to known by others, he had not contacted Xu Tingsheng too.
He hadn’t even informed Xu Tingsheng that he would be stealing away some of Hucheng’s people or tried to justify this at all until Xu Tingsheng had contacted him during that meeting, because that was similarly unnecessary.
If one said that the two of them were friends, perhaps they were a most special breed of friends.
This was actually a relationship that was very hard to come by. Both sides had revealed every single thing, both not minding letting the other see their honest and deceitful, even shameless sides.
There was a very strange sort of mutual trust between them as well as a tacit admission and knowledge that they might be enemies someday, with both sides being prepared to show no mercy when the time came.
They were even more cognisant of the other’s personality, methods, strong and weak points than most of the other people around them.
In Xu Tingsheng’s case, Zhang Xingke actually understood him better than Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming, Fang Yuqing, Song Ni and Apple did to some degree. He was the first person to have accurately described Xu Tingsheng’s personality. At the same time, he also did not mind being honest with him regarding his principles in doing things and his views regarding life and society.
He had not reached the extent of nirvanic light instantly descending as he still grasped the blade in his hand. He also minded not struggling up the ranks in a most bullied state as he was able to bend his knees and stand back up again as circumstances demanded, being adept at swindling too.
He said that why the heck would someone who had not accomplished anything be concerned with great benevolence anyway. Saying lowering the ‘slaughtering blade’ or whatnot was just purely to show off his living philosophy. He still wasn’t quite qualified for acting like that yet.
The two of them had immediately started off as enemies in an irrevocable battle of wits.
Then, they had mutually admired each other and worked together, even having interacted as deeply as to chat about each other’s private lives. The relationship between Zhang Xingke and Yu Xinlan, his troubles and infatuation with this woman-there might only be Xu Tingsheng whom he had ever confided about this to before.
Now, they had become opponents of a sort again. Both sides were clear on the fact that if it became necessary and opportunity allowed it, neither would hesitate to ‘painfully deliver the killing blow’.
Actually, Zhang Xingke had already made his move. Also, in the eyes of the ‘honourable’, his methods had not been very commendable at all.
He had told Xu Tingsheng long ago that he would be taking some people away from Dexin with him. Of course, these were all people he had use for. Even though this was not a very nice thing to do as a friend, he had been very ‘frank’ about it.
This frankness had caused Xu Tingsheng to relax and lower his guard, not considering whether Zhang Xingke might still have anything up his sleeve.
In truth, this had precisely been Zhang Xingke’s goal. Otherwise, Hucheng would not have been taken so completely off guard, not even having signed a restrictive contract before investing so much effort and resources into promoting those two reputable teachers left behind by Dexin.
Xu Tingsheng had indeed been complacent, having been swindled as a result.
Zhang Xingke had probably contacted those two reputable teachers from Dexin at the same time that he had openly stolen all those other people away from their company. Then, he had revealed some things but withheld others, waiting for when Hucheng had promoted these two via their own platform to a certain level of popularity before finally officially stealing them away.
This trick of revealing some things yet withholding others was the ultimate method of stealing another company’s employees.
Stealing their people and scrapping their foundation, digging a trap and swindling them-Zhang Xingke had done all of these. This was not something which would harm others but not benefit himself as it would benefit him. Also, this was actually very important for him who had only just started his company and still lacked sufficient resources.
Seeing how those people had actually been willing to leave a large vessel like Hucheng and sail away with his decrepit little boat, one just had to be convinced by his methods and competence.
After learning of how he had been swindled, Xu Tingsheng had only been able to smile wryly, accepting his loss with good grace.
Xu Tingsheng remembered back when the two of them had still been addressing each other as brothers, pouring out their hearts to the other and even lamenting together on ‘the vicissitudes of life amidst tragic society’. Zhang Xingke’s attitude towards him had naturally been genuine then. It was just that this had not stopped him from setting up a trap for him even as he did so.
Following that incident, Xu Tingsheng had only come to increasingly admire Zhang Xingke even more. Otherwise, he would not have told Wu Tong that she could look for him for help if she met with any problems while handling Li Wan’er’s matter.
Also, seeking his help in this matter was actually also equivalent to Xu Tingsheng holding out a hand to him. One hand grasping a blade, the other hand in hand-they could be friends that way too.
As for other emotions, such as disappointment, hatred...and whatnot, he had really felt none of those at all. They were meant to compete based on their methods in the first place. Why was there a need to be so overly emotional; what’s the point in thinking that everyone has to treat you nicely?! Everyone has to be upright and aboveboard towards you, showing you mercy?!
‘Accepting your negative outcomes’ is an attitude that all those struggling whilst striving in this society should really possess above all else. Stop crying, making a scene, resenting others. Of course, this in no way stops you from retaliating in the future, sending your opponent flying and spinning a good couple of times in the air.
The call connected.
Zhang Xingke feigned sincerity as he started out by asking, “You’re still overseas? It’s been a long time since we talked. I was looking for you to talk and renew our brotherly ties.”
Xu Tingsheng replied, “Get lost! I’ll hang up if you go on being disgusting.”
Zhang Xingke exclaimed, “No, no, no. Homie, brother. Alright, I want you to repay my favour.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I don’t owe you any favours. What homie?”
Zhang Xingke replied, “Hey, since when have you learnt to burn the bridges you’ve crossed? The matter of that auntie, Li something, I put so much effort into it, you know? As for homie, of course...I saw that Auntie Li from far away. The heck, too shocking...just that I never thought you would have such an interest. What, older, more flavour?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “...Get to the point.”
Zheng Xingke replied, “I’ve seen Hucheng’s new advertisement. The campus here at Shenghai, this wave of yours...is unstoppable.”
What Zhang Xingke spoke of actually referred to the relevant preparations that Xu Tingsheng had previously passed to Wu Tong in that file, regarding Hucheng’s forging of an alternative path, with it launching a counterattack in Shenghai which further extended into the nation.
The contents had already gradually been released starting from the very day after Xu Tingsheng had gone overseas. They had been displayed right on Hucheng Tongcheng’s main page before being reported on by the media, one piece of information after another, one wave after another.
The top scholar plan. Using the various top scholars for the university entrance examinations from the various top schools in Shenghai and using one-to-one, one-to-three educational tutor schemes to resist the large number of reputable teachers from the numerous training institutes.
Cooperating with those top schools. Specially hiring professors of Shenghai Music Institute and Shenghai Film Institute as guest teachers.
Surpassing bounds. Establishing a partnership with Tianyi Media and starting a training program and selection process for young stars. Represented by Tianyi’s superior idol, the Piano Prince as it was also guaranteed that he would be personally conducting at least six lessons at the training institute every year.
A ‘bomb’. Hiring two retiring Olympic Taekwondo champions as Hucheng Education’s head coaches for Taekwondo.
While Hucheng Education’s campus in Shenghai was still yet to officially recruit students, just the reservation list alone was already full...more than full, really, blasting right through the roof.
“You’re really playing it too high-level. All the training institutes in the whole of Shenghai are already in a complete mess now. Still, this scale of yours will probably only happen in a few places like Shenghai. There’re probably only five big first-rate cities that they’re feasible in.”
After saying so, Zhang Xingke waited to hear Xu Tingsheng’s response.
Zhang Xingke was actually entirely correct. The framework that Hucheng had used for its campus in Shenghai was currently only feasible in a select few cities that were flourishing economically and had a high population. This had too high a cost, resulting in high fees too. Also, some of the programs were too high-end as they did not target those ordinary citizens.
There were only these few cities where there would be sufficient demand for these services.
Thus, at the present moment, it was still impossible to implement this on a large scale. Still, in terms of influence and advertising effect, it was widespread and incomparably great.
Over these two days that Xu Tingsheng had spent mucking about in Nice, this series of wild moves by Hucheng and Shenghai Training Institute had entirely exceeded the long-standing impressions of training institutes as discussions regarding them had surged through the roof.
There were cheers of joy and startled exclamations by those who believed that Hucheng was about to give rise to a revolution in the education industry.
There were also disputes, controversy. Some believed that Hucheng was being frivolous and not serious enough as they were randomly stirring things up and causing chaos in the market.
With the calls unceasingly coming in. Xu Tingsheng turned off his phone. Tianyi maintained their silence on the reason behind their partnership and the relevant conditions. The two Taekwondo champions who had already signed a contract with Hucheng before the Olympics similarly had to abide by the contractual silence.
All explanations and clarification were left to the one in charge of Hucheng’s training institute in Shenghai, Wu Tong. If there was anything she could not say, it was just directly pushed onto Xu Tingsheng who was nowhere to be found in the first place.
“So...the reason you’re looking for me is?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
Not receiving any useful response from Xu Tingsheng, without any affirmation or rebuttal at all, Zhang Xingke sighed.
“I want to see if there’s a chance to fish in turbid waters or do some overall adjustments in my plans,” Zhang Xingke said, “So, I’d like to know a little of your future roadmap..I said it before, I’ve discovered that you are exceptionally frightening in this area.”
Presently, Zhang Xingke’s training institute had already stabilised its footing in the short term. Thus, it was only natural and reasonable that he begin to focus on its long-term development.
“Senior, I seem to remember that we’re opponents. Why would I tell you?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“You owe me a favour.”
“I’ll tell that partner of yours about Auntie Li.”
“...Fine, I’ll ask, and you’ll just tell me whatever you’re willing to say. After I’m done asking, whether or not you never said a thing, I’ll owe you a favour. Don’t say that my favours are useless. That’s really too hurtful,” Zhang Xingke said ‘resentfully’.
Xu Tingsheng smiled and waited. He was actually very curious as to whether Zhang Xingke would ask about the current state of affairs and Hucheng’s plans in Shenghai as concerning his short-term benefits or the grand, overarching trend of things that were to come in the future.
From what he asked, he would be able to grasp the scope of his vision as well as his ambitions.
At the very least, the manner of further expansion for Hucheng that he had just mentioned was actually extremely close to what Xu Tingsheng had in mind.
Zhang Xingke got started, his first question being, “What I mentioned just now regarding the limitations of widespread implementation of your current model for cities. Is it right, or is it wrong?”
He was indeed asking about the grand, overarching trend.
Xu Tingsheng pondered for a moment, formulating a response, “It’s right, presently. Still, I think that we should not underestimate the rate of growth of our country’s economy as well as the changes coming to city lifestyles in the next three years or even the next five to ten years.”
This was the most candid Xu Tingsheng could go, even though these words were actually always being said by the government and the bureaucracy.
The upcoming economic growth of their country and the changes in lifestyles of the people that were soon to come after the year 2004 had been personally experienced only by Xu Tingsheng before. Going back and slowly reliving the entire process now, he was even more certain of just how immense these changes were.
The number of cities that were able to sustain Hucheng’s current model for its training institute in Shenghai would rise manifold over the years to come, reaching a dozen, dozens, hundreds.
Also, the number of families that would be happy to, yearned to and had the ability to pay for things like Taekwondo, Yoga, performance, music, Western dancing...they would rapidly rise.
In the face of this grand, overarching trend...the significance of prior planning could not be overstated.
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