Wuxiaworld > Empire of the Ring > 354 The North Sea Route 1

354 The North Sea Route 1

The follower couple that returned from Korea looked concerned as they were estimating the cost of building the new icebreaker.

"Mr. CEO, can't we just use the icebreaker we have now after reinforcing it?"

"You know it's called an icebreaker, but it can't even break the ice that's a meter thick. It can't survive in the North Sea."

"Would our autonomous state ever be able to make such a budget? I heard South Korea is having a problem saving money to build an icebreaker that can travel to the South Pole, and it's getting delayed."

"Well, the autonomous state might not have it, but I do."

"Are you serious? It will cost you more than 100 million dollars to build that ship. Are you really going to spend that much money?"

"You know, we're not building a ship to explore the North Pole but a transport ship that would carry people and cargo only. It's not going to be as expensive as that."

"But it's still going to be around 80 million dollars."

"That's about what I spent to build the hotel in Batumi. I'll be paying the amount over three years. It's not going to overwhelm me."

"You can rent Russian vessels that sail around the Yenisei River only."

"If I have a good icebreaker, I can go to Greenland in the Danish territory."

"Oh, I see. You've got a big plan."

"I don't want to limit ourselves in the state. We need to go overseas and stretch out our influence. I'm going to make war bases all over the world."

Youngho actually had diamonds in his mind more than war bases, but he could not be honest to the follower couple, so he bluffed about his future plan.

Youngho contacted a big shipyard in Denmark to request an icebreaker.
Since the country had a huge ice island—Greenland—its shipbuilding technology used to be unequaled, but its reputation was not like before now.
The reason that he contacted the Danish shipyard was because of Princess Isabella.
Even many countries could not make their own icebreakers because of its high cost but if an autonomous state requested it, the Danish royal family would indeed be proud of its soon to be family-in-law.

The big island, Greenland was about two-thirds of Kazakhstan's territory. Because 85 percent of its territory was covered in ice, it was called an ice island. Although its own government owned the right of using its underground resources and judicial and police power, its national defense and diplomacy were exerted by the Danish government, and the head of the state was Queen Margrethe II.
The Danish royal family was intrigued to hear that an icebreaker worth 100 million dollars was requested by an autonomous state. It was obvious why Youngho had chosen Denmark over Korea which was another strong shipbuilding nation. The royal family was satisfied to hear it.
Not long after it was announced, Szechenyi called Youngho with an excited voice.

"Hyung, you already have two icebreakers. Are you going to build another one?"


"Oh, I'm spending all of my savings on your marriage. Just know that."

"Princess Isabella is very appreciative of your gesture. She was also surprised to hear that the autonomous state already has two icebreakers."

Szechenyi must have bragged that there were two more icebreakers in the state other than the one that the state just ordered. Since many countries could not even afford an icebreaker, it would be natural to get surprised to hear the news. She must be wondering why the state needed three icebreakers.

"Tell her that I'm interested in establishing the North Sea route."

"Is it because you're going to develop the land in Siberia?"

"If you sail through the Yenisei River, you can get to Krasnoyarsk easily. I should transport wood and exploit underground resources too."

"It looks like the Danish royal family is going to pretend that it had a part in attracting the autonomous state's decision to request a ship at the Danish shipyard. The shipyard had been losing money for a while despite its outstanding technology."

"Oh, yeah? I should buy some stock of that shipyard company. Szechenyi, you should prepare to make an investment company in Denmark."

"I still need to study a lot before jumping into a business. What can I do?"

"Oh, you won't need a degree to own some good stock. A company that has original technology won't disappoint you."

"Okay, hyung. You'd be visiting Denmark soon right?"

"I'll be there to sign the contract. I'll be coming with your big sister. We should pay a visit to the royal family."

The fact that a Korean businessman had chosen a Danish shipyard company over a Korean shipyard company to make an icebreaker was a huge plus for the Danish shipyard company since it was proof that its technology was recognized.
Youngho only targeted the Danish royal family, but it seemed that the shipyard was going to benefit from his decision. So, he was going to take his chance to buy a share of the company.
Korean shipyards were one of the most successful shipyards in the world but when they made special ships, they paid a huge amount of money for royalty to other companies since they did not have original technology. It was going to make him money when he bought the share of the Danish company which had its original technology when it was still being underestimated by the world. It would be best if he would be able to do Merger and Acquisitions, or M&A, in the future.

***

H Corporation's Kim Joo-hyuk came to visit Youngho hastily after hearing about the new icebreaker.

"Mr. Lee. You know that we have a shipyard company that's related to H Corporation. If I knew about this earlier, I could've helped you in negotiating the cost and other things as well."

"Of course I thought about you, but I couldn't refuse the Danish royal family's earnest request. I'm also a stockholder of that shipyard. I'd be criticized if I hadn't ordered a ship from that company."

The royal family was only an excuse, but since he was going to be a stockholder of the Danish shipyard, what he said was not all a lie. This was the only way that he could make Kim Joo-hyuk give up.

"I see. I was worried that we might have done something wrong to you, Mr. Lee."

"Oh, you shouldn't worry about such a thing. I'm hoping to take over a shipyard company that has original technology. When I do, you should ask your company to find clients for me."

"You must have it all planned out then."

"It's just a plan. The Danish government won't be willing to let go of the company."

"Well, I hope you'll get to achieve your plan. It's going to be good news if a Korean businessman like you can have a company with original technology."

"Thank you, Mr. Kim. I'm afraid that I haven't done much for you lately when you support our state so much. Are you by any chance interested in developing an area in Siberia?"

"Of course I'll be interested in Siberia. We wanted to get in there, but it's not so easy to deal with Russia as an individual corporation."

"If you want to take part in the development, you should first make an investment."

"Then that icebreaker must be for Siberia too. I wondered why you need another one."

"You're right. I'm trying to get to Siberia with the new icebreaker. There is a land route but it'd be easier if I can use the sea route."

"Well, Mr. Lee. A businessman like you can deal with anybody, but a Korean corporation like us has a lot of restrictions when doing business with a government."

The only reason why Youngho could do business with the Russian government was because he had a connection to Yaniv—the mafia boss of southern Russia—who was also close to President Putin. H Corporation would not have a chance to get Russia's resources since the Russian government would have so many restrictions and rules against a foreign corporation. And Youngho was fully aware of that.

"I might be attaining the development right of the land."

"What? Are you sure, Mr. Lee? As an individual businessman?"

"What's wrong with that?"

"Oh, I don't mean it that way. That will be a dream come true!"

"I'll only be developing an area that's only five times bigger than the size of Seoul. Compared to the whole size of Siberia, it's just a fingernail."

Kim Joo-hyuk could not close his eyes because he was so shocked.
It took some time for him to process the information. After hastily drinking his tea that was already cold, he leaned forward toward Youngho.
Youngho could already guess what he was going to say.

"There must be something that our corporation can deal with here. Isn't that why you asked if I was interested in this?"

"Let's see. You won't be interested in the lumber business. You would be interested in mineral resources, wouldn't you?"

"How can you always be so thoughtful? We'll take it no matter what. Don't think about other business entities, okay?"

"Well, we should do some more exploration work, but the region used to have an active volcano. There is an infinite possibility in there."

"You're giving me your word, Mr. Lee, right?"

Kim Joo-hyuk did not even ask for any condition but forced to be Youngho's partner no matter what.

"You've bought the mineral resources from the autonomous state. I should definitely give you priority over other business entities, Mr. Kim."

"This is why I like you so much, Mr. Lee. We'll buy it at the best price."

"Before you offer a partnership, shouldn't you wait until we find what's under there?"

"Oh, it's not important whatever's under there. A promise is more important than that."

Kim Joo-hyuk thought that any business that Youngho had jumped in must be worth a shot no matter what. He looked for a notepad since he wanted to get a written note of promise from Youngho. It seemed like the word would spread fast through his mouth.

***

"Excuse me? I'm not sure what you're saying."

"We came here to do additional businesses, not only to do the power plant business."

"This is a place of limitless opportunities. Your corporation is capable of doing so many businesses here in the next few decades. I don't get why you're saying it like there's no work for you to do."

"Mr. Lee. We were very disappointed to hear that you requested an icebreaker from a Danish shipyard company when our corporation can make it so easy for you. I'm the director of the headquarters, and I'm going to get rebuked that I missed that opportunity."

S Corporation's director of the headquarters, who had not been showing his face for quite a while, suddenly came to Youngho's office and complained. Youngho was startled to hear it.
If he had usually worked this hard, Youngho would have connected him to other business partners even if he had not asked.
Youngho never liked the way S Corporation worked, but he tolerated it only because the follower couple used to work for that company. The way the director spoke was as if S Corporation had deposited something in advance to Youngho, and now it's asking for their money back. His attitude was quite upsetting.
Youngho cleared his throat.

"I am honored that S Corporation trusts the Arirang Autonomous State greatly, but any business body or an autonomous state has its own reasons for making business decisions."

"As a director, I should know the cause and reason for your decision so I can report it to the headquarters. Please consider my situation here."

"Phew, I have no reason to make an official announcement for my decision. I'm a shareholder of the Danish shipyard company, and the Danish royal family will be my family-in-law soon. You'd understand that I have no reason to order a ship from other companies, wouldn't you?"

Youngho was sure that S Corporation was only making trouble since H Corporation was ahead of it since H Corporation was doing another partnership with him.
Youngho had to say something. He made a sarcastic comment to the S Corporation's director.

"You must be so loyal to your partnering companies since you're so upset that you couldn't get the shipbuilding business for them."

"Well, when we work in foreign countries, we support each other."

"So, you must be working so well with other Korean corporations too, right?"

"…"

Youngho expected Korean corporations to cooperate with each other in a foreign country like this, but the reality was the complete opposite. They did not even share information with each other since they were busy competing against each other.
It was a shame and quite worrisome since they did not even care to receive low-cost orders in the competition.
It would be the same in the construction and energy industries. If Korean corporations wanted to attain resources, they would have to reside in foreign countries for years and compete with the local companies in order to have a chance. However, they were only interested in short-term deals and fast achievements.
They also only cared about their own organization, not seeing Korea as a whole society and one economic entity. It made Youngho frustrated. He was worried that these Korean corporations would damage the reputation of Koreans that Koryoins had built up over many decades.