Chapter 404: Earnt in a month

Chapter 404: Earnt in a month

9th September 2005, the night before Happy Farm officially launched on Weibo.

Xu Tingsheng sat alone in his room, feeling rather excited but a little uneasy too.

His excitement stemmed from anticipation as he challenged a hegemonic entity that he had previously witnessed in person and he could once never ever have dreamt of competing with.

This was also where his unease stemmed from. All the preparations were already complete as there seemed to be no real problem with earning a tidy sum through this short-term project. What truly concerned and worried him was how the competition between Weibo and QQ regarding the accumulation of ‘closely knit communities’ seemed about to commence.

As a rebirthee who had witnessed the empire of Tencent and a former normal person, even failure, Xu Tingsheng’s awe and fear towards this future hegemonic entity surpassed the imaginations of all.

This included Hu Chen and He Yutan.

Even they had no way of realising that right now, Xu Tingsheng was competing for a user base which could grant them blessed winds and advantageous tides in all future campaigns. In contrast, the other party possessed an innate advantage and grasped the upper hand.

Even though Tencent was ranked only 25th out of ‘China’s Top 100 Software Enterprises’ this year, it was this year too that the number of registered users on QQ had surpassed the 300 million mark, with more than ten million people online at any one time as it was seeing an exponentially increasing amount of activity. This year, its scope of influence had already expanded from youngsters to the elderly and middle-aged and even little children.

It was currently accumulating the ‘closely knit communities’ that Xu Tingsheng valued most greatly at a frenzied rate, cultivating their reliance on QQ in their daily lives.

This was the very foundation of that future empire.

In contrast, there were 80 million registered users on Weibo, with countless ‘zombie’ accounts that easily surpassed the perpetually active ones.

Weibo was temporarily still unable to measure the number of users it had concurrently online. It was obvious, however, that this statistic would be vastly inferior to their competitor’s. Also, they had no way of competing whatsoever in terms of the composition of their registered users and how essential the platform was in their daily lives.

Weibo’s user base was basically still limited to youngsters right now. Additionally, most of them could abandon and forget about their Weibo accounts whenever they wanted.

This was the most terrifying thing.

Many people had simply registered on Weibo for fun, using it for a couple of days before totally dumping it aside. Most people would simply recall it once in a while whereupon they would leave comments for the real-life celebrities or web celebrities they liked or participate in discussions that they were interested in for a bit.

Many people had even already long since totally forgotten their registered accounts.

‘Enthusiasm towards something or someone’ would never be able to compare with ‘living habits’ in terms of long-term stability.

What was most important right now was whether he could get most of these people to retrieve their accounts through Happy Farm, calling their friends and dragging their families into being frequently active on Weibo. A social group that was hard to forsake would thereby be created. Through numerous instances of this, Weibo would be empowered for good.

At the same time, Xu Tingsheng had searched and verified a piece of information on the web that was somewhat blurry within his memories. News on one of Tencent’s earliest successful web games, QQ Fantasy, was already available online as it would commence in late October.

In rebirth novels that he had read in his previous life, the rebirthee would easily win over some bigwigs in his post-rebirth life, taking them under his wing one by one as his underlings. Just thinking about this caused Xu Tingsheng to cringe as he wanted to laugh...this was just too overly self-delusional.

While the power to foresee future events was indeed mighty, the person themselves would remain unchanged. Xu Tingsheng had not gained the ‘air of a sovereign’ from his rebirth, a simple flick of the sleeve granting him means and capabilities which sprang out of nowhere.

In truth, whether it was in terms of ambition or his innate awe and fear towards them as a rebirthee, the current Xu Tingsheng had never even considered the prospect of defeating or even slaying Tencent. If he had returned to a few years ago, this might still have been possible. However, it was already very difficult in the year 2005.

To be precise, Xu Tingsheng currently sought only to imitate them, hoping that he could have a piece of the pie.

He even hoped that Tencent would not notice this potential threat to their monopoly too quickly. It would be best if they themselves had still not realised how important this matter was to them.

Happy Farm was merely Xu Tingsheng’s first step as he sought to accumulate ‘closely knit communities’ and turn using Weibo into a ‘daily routine’. There was still a long road ahead of him. Still, this step concerned them making a fundamental breakthrough for Weibo as it was so very important and indispensable.

……

It was evening when Huang Yaming paid him a visit.

“Are you so free? Things aren’t busy over at the bar?” Xu Tingsheng asked.

“Things are busy. I’ve something I need to talk to you about,” Huang Yaming sat down, pouring himself some wine as he saw some conveniently sitting on the coffee table.

“What can’t be said over the phone?”

“It’s too much to say over the phone. By the way, did you receive a call from Tianyi?”

Xu Tingsheng shook his head.

“They’ve called me, asking me about the investment money for the movie. You previously told them at least 4 million, right?”

“Yup,” Xu Tingsheng said.

He had not invested excessively in the movie, being worried that an exorbitant amount might instead wreck the original quality of <Crazy Stone>. Still, he did not intend to be stingy in promoting it. 4 million was merely the base amount.

“Where’s the money?” Huang Yaming asked as he downed half his glass of red wine as if drinking water.

“There’s temporarily none available,” Xu Tingsheng answered.

“That can’t be?” Huang Yaming was stunned, “For real? ...Money has been rolling in from Hucheng everyday...Hasn’t Zhicheng sold a batch of flats too? ...You lack this teensy sum?”

Xu Tingsheng forced a smile, replying, “The movie is a joint collaboration between you and Tianyi and not one between companies. There are many other shareholders in Hucheng and Zhicheng. Whether they have any money or not, I can’t just use it for our movie unless I borrow it. Moreover, both companies are actually lacking in money right now.”

“What about over with Weibo? It’s at least just you over there right now, right?” Huang Yaming asked.

“That’s true. Still, we’re so poor over there right now that we don’t even have enough for their monthly wages,” Xu Tingsheng drank a mouthful of wine too.

As Huang Yaming saw it, this was an ‘agonised drink’ on Xu Tingsheng’s part. He had never actually believed that Xu Tingsheng was currently really in such a ‘tragic’ state.

“What do we do? I don’t have that amount over at my bar right now too,” Huang Yaming said despondently, “If Tianyi calls you, what do you say? Or if they don’t call you, what do I say? I said just now that I’d ask you about it.”

“First things first-who was it who called you again?”

“Shao Jun,” Huang Yaming reported the name of Tianyi’s VP whom Xu Tingsheng was most familiar with before enquiring, “Right, why didn’t they call you? And why not Boss Shi himself? ...Is it because it would be potentially awkward talking about money?”

In business and its money-related conversations, awkwardness was really never ever a factor.

Xu Tingsheng thought about it and realised that Shi Zhongjun was attempting to probe him in order to see if he was really already out of funds as per the rumours. Those many articles and their analyses could never have escaped his attention...moreover, he was an ambitious person who was always looking for a chance to expand his percentage of the shares in Hucheng.

Therefore, if Xu Tingsheng was ‘in trouble’, he would be extremely happy to lend him a hand in exchange for purchasing some of Hucheng’s shares. He might even ‘think up a plan’ to acquire some more of these shares.

This was really nothing at all like hatching sinister schemes and whatnot as it would definitely not affect their cooperative relationship, turning them into enemies. In business partnerships, one was really always neither friend nor enemy. This was simply how all business people naturally thought. If you possess the shares of a company with immense money-making capabilities that has high potential, you would obviously wish to own more of its shares.

The reason behind Shi Zhongjun not asking Xu Tingsheng about this in person was that he actually feared the latter, rather than himself, feeling awkward. Also, most crucial was the fact that he could not be certain if Xu Tingsheng was really ‘in trouble’ right now. Thus, he had gotten someone to ‘scout’ for him.

Xu Tingsheng explained this rationale to Huang Yaming.

Huang Yaming was just about to curse when his phone rang again.

After chatting for a while, Huang Yaming covered up the speaker as he turned to Xu Tingsheng and said, “Boss Shao says that if we have any short-term monetary problems, they can cover the promotion fees. Afterwards, we will just even it out in terms of our percentage of shares owned for the movie. Are they also so confident that this movie will definitely make it big?”

Xu Tingsheng shook his head, replying bluntly, “Tell him that we will send over our portion of the promotion fees over within a month.”

He spoke very confidently, and Huang Yaming relayed his words faithfully.

After hanging up, Huang Yaming looked at Xu Tingsheng, asking, “If we can’t move any money from Hucheng and Zhicheng, where can you get some within a month? Also, if we try to drag it out, isn’t it equivalent to admitting that your cashflow has really been broken?”

“There are actually many ways. Of course there are. Still, they aren’t necessary,” Xu Tingsheng said, “Don’t I still have Xingchen Technologies? My flow of money, even if broken now, will soon resume once again. Boss Shi will be able to see this.”

Huang Yaming was rather bewildered by this, “...Didn’t you say that you’re poor to the point of surviving on tree roots over there?”

“That’s how it is right now. Still, I’ll be able to earn that sum very quickly,” Xu Tingsheng said.

“How?”

“Through this.”

Xu Tingsheng pointed at Happy Farm that was running on the computer screen a distance away.


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