Chapter 35: Planning on Starting A Jewelry Store
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
About six hours later, Chen Jin had led his expedition team back to the huge crater camp. The second they arrived, he grabbed his bag and headed straight to the portal and went back to his bedroom.
In the bedroom, the robot Wa-Wah waved and greeted him from the corner. Chen Jin took his Huawei 2.0 from one of his drawers and turned it on, ignoring Wa-Wah. And as he expected, 124 missed calls from his mother.
The time was 4:16AM, October 9, 20×8. He was supposed to be home two days ago. His mother was sleeping upstairs. To take a load off her mind, Chen Jin did some cover-up and gave his mom a call around 5AM.
Her phone was answered immediately. “Son, where have you been? Why didn’t you call me? Where are you now? Are you alright?” He Li got out of bed as soon as she got the call, anxiously asking him all sorts of questions.
“Mom, I’m fine. I’m home now. The traffic was awful during the national holidays so we decided to stay for another day...” Chen Jin explained with a wry smile on his face. His mom worried too much.
“You unsophisticated boy. It’s totally fine if you wanted to stay out a few more days. But you could have given me a call. Do you have any idea how worried I was?”
“Mom, I told you...the place we went to was a land of Buddhism where everything was pure and clean. No cell-phones or computers were allowed. It’s how they help people return to nature and find their true self... ”
“Alright, alright. Open the door. I want to see you.”
His door opened, and his mom was standing outside in her pajamas.
A little more than an hour later, He Li smiled from ear to ear and her face lit up with exhilaration as he told her all about his travels over the past few days; then, he gave her a pair of pearl earrings. And just like that, she was pleased. He’d done it again.
After dawn, both of his parents had gone to work. Chen Jin was once again home alone. He went back to his room and took a nap for a couple of hours. He didn’t go back to the huge crater after he woke up, however; instead, he turned on his dust-covered computer, opened a web browser, and searched “How to start a jewelry store” on Baidu.
He read closely and carefully on each webpage. Yes, Chen Jin was going to start his own jewelry store. One that solely belonged to him. In this store, he would sell gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, jades, and rubies (they came in various colors). In addition, he would set up a counter exclusively for the luxury, high-end watches. In short, his store would have everything and anything that was related to jewelry.
I wonder if this kind of business makes money?
Chen Jin found a few answers on “Baidu Knows.”
“There are two ways that a jewelry store can make money: one is from purchase channels, and the other is from the price of the gold you give your customers. Generally speaking, the purchase channels for a jewelry store are jewelry factories; their factory price is the same as gold’s market price, with an extra 50-70 cents of handling fees. Processing charge is also somewhere between that range. Of course, it depends entirely on the region you’re in, but usually it won’t be more than 70 cents. The price of gold jewelry the store gives their customers is usually based on the gold’s market price, with an additional three dollar handling fee, and another three dollars for processing fees...which means that the profit you make is always at least $4.5 for each gram of gold you sell. But, of course, your profit will be affected if you sell the gold for a price lower than what you pay the factory. Nonetheless, owners usually can stay out of the red. Purchase channels vary from place to place; some are legitimate, some aren’t, depends on your preference. You don’t make as much working with the legit ones, but it’s less risky.”
Another one answered: “No, you don’t make much. It’s expensive to start your own jewelry store. In smaller cities, you’d need to invest around $45,000 – $75,000; in a bigger one, you’d need at least $150,000! You’re not going to make it without a good marketing strategy; even if you do, it’s still very risky, because no jewelry store could survive on selling small quantities. And by the way, it’s better to not go into this kind of business without any connections with the mafia. It’s a massive investment doing this kind of business. Besides, gold prices fluctuate with prices of the share market. Unless you have extremely sufficient funds, you’d better do something else...”
After doing a little more research on the internet, Chen Jin had a pretty good idea of what this business was all about. In conclusion, there were some rules in the jewelry industry:
One: It’s a big investment. Even in smaller cities he’d need to put $45,000 – $75,000 into it; in a big city like Shanghai, an investment of $1.5 million would be the very minimum.
Two: It’s profitable. This business was definitely profitable. But he needed to know the ropes and have some connections.
Three: Purchase channels. There are the legal ones and the illegal ones. Low profit and low risk for the legal ones, and high profit with high risk for the illegal ones. Without a doubt, the risk there means the risk of getting fake gold, silver, platinum, etc. The loss would be tremendous if that actually happened.
What concerned Chen Jin the most was the government. Were they strict about it? Would he need to report to the government the source and origin of the jewelry? He had already contacted customer service from various jewelry stores regarding this concern, but the only response he received was “We don’t know.”
“Mom is an accountant at the tax bureau. I should probably just ask her.” Chen Jin called his mother and asked her about it.
He Li muttered for a moment, and said, “There’s no way the government would be able to control all the economic activities in our society. As long as you don’t do anything illegal, no one reports you, the government wouldn’t conduct an investigation on someone for no reason. You know what I mean? Say, this so-and-so has $150 million. How did he make that kind of money? Did he break the law? The government can’t check into it; as long as no one reports this person to the authorities, or if he didn’t do anything illegal, he gets to keep the money. This is a massive country; it’s impossible for the government to keep an eye on every corner. The administrative expenses would be enormous! It’s like money laundering; the authorities have been suppressing it over the years, but only a few cases get exposed to the public every year. The government then deals with those cases to set an example and warn everyone. Most of the time, the authorities stay out of it if things are kept subtle.” He Li wouldn’t normally share this kind of information in public, but her son was asking, so she disclosed some details.
“So they govern by doing nothing, you mean?”
“I guess you could say that.”
“But what if I discovered 100 tons of gold? Do I get to keep them?” Chen Jin asked.
“No, you don’t. Our country does.” He Li corrected him.
“Then, what can I do to keep them?” Chen Jin started to get anxious. Handing them over? No freaking way!
“Don’t tell anyone about it.”
“Oh, I see.” Chen Jin fully understood what his mother meant.
Keep it absolutely confidential! I must not give myself away or make any mistakes.
Only then could he bring all the jewelry on Haierfa over to Earth, and sell them in his own jewelry store, and turn them into cash. As long as he kept it to himself, and didn’t do anything that would raise suspicions, he wouldn’t get into trouble even if the government actually decided to conduct an investigation on his store.
“Besides, Mom works for the government. She’s more or less a supervisor too. Why would they want to check on me?” So, in a way, Chen Jin did have some connections. As for the funds he needed for the store, $1.5 million, Chen Jin had it. It was the least of his worries.
Starting a jewelry store wasn’t too difficult ; it was just like starting a restaurant or a grocery store, it was very common. He just needed to provide his tenancy agreement, a business license, the tax registration certificate, as well as the approvals from the Fire Department and the Ministry of Health. Once all of that was taken care of, Chen Jin would make a grand opening for his jewelry store!
It was true the procedures were a little complicated and tedious, but Chen Jin was determined to make it happen. “There is an unbelievable amount of gold, silver, and various kinds of rubies on Haierfa. Starting 1,000 jewelry stores is not impossible if I take all the treasures back to Earth with me! But I will only start one store. And only a small portion of the jewelry will be from Haierfa. I will sell them along with some other ones. A profit of $30 to $45 million per year would be enough for me. Slow but steady; this jewelry store is going to turn into a cash cow that makes profits and helps me with primitive accumulation of capital. After that, I will use the funds to start my business in the high-tech industry, making more profits and creating a greater success!”
And just like that, Chen Jin graduated from the Elderly Devouring Generation. Step by step, he realized the value of his life!