Our story for today takes place in a restaurant in Yin Chuan city, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. We meet Wang Jun, who found himself in possession of an empty basement in a newly constructed shopping mall. He decided to open a Western-style Muslim restaurant. Wang Jun wanted his restaurant to reflect the traditions and history of the area, which influenced everything from the design of the furniture to cultural performances during meals. The concept took off, and Wang Jun went from running one resturant in a basement to managing nine restaurants, with an annual revenue in excess of 50 million yuan.
Looking for investment
The story starts two years ago.
Ma Yue, head of Ningxia Tongfu Group, decided to build a property development in Yinchuan's commercial area, comprising a shopping mall and hotel. But even after taking out bank loans, Ma Yue was still short of almost 10-million yuan. So he turned to his friends for help.
Thanks to a friendship going back over 10 years, (TAKE VIDEO 10-20") Wang Jun didn't hesitate to lend Ma Yue five million yuan. In return, Ma promised to return to Wang Jun his original investment with interest.
Wang Jun gave Ma Yue all of his seven million yuan in savings, leaving him no capital to invest in his own business endeavors. In the two years that followed, he became more eager than ever to see the new development reach completion.
Every day, Wang Jun drove to the construction site, got out of his car and walked around. The two-year long wait finally ended when construction came to an end. But what Wang Jun didn't know was that the almost-complete development was just the beginning.
At the mention of money by Wang Jun, Ma Yue was terribly embarrassed. He confessed to Wang that he was unable to pay back even one percent of Wang's seven-million yuan investment.
Starting his trip in Yinchuan, Wang visited Xi'an, Kunming and finally Guangzhou. Wang and his wife returned after a month-long tour with the announcement that he planned to open a Western-style restaurant for Muslim diners. But none of Wang Jun’s friends thought this was a good idea. They all had doubts about who would visit such a restaurant in a city like Yinchuan.
The local Hui ethnicity makes up about one third of the population in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The local diet is mainly composed of beef and mutton, with 70 percent of the restaurants providing Muslim food.