After writing the last stroke on the remittance slip, Chen Yuanming put down the pen in his hand and handed over the postal money order to be sent out. In a little over half a year, he had remitted a total of 18,000 yuan to his family and had written several letters to report his safety.
Although he knew that his family would have doubts about the source of this money, with these sums in hand the problems that had plagued his parents and the issues that were bothering the entire family could be solved.
These small accumulated changes were the beginning of the transformation of his fate …
Just a few steps outside the gate of the post office, he turned from the alley into the downtown area. Chen Yuanming looked at the scene in front of him and took another deep breath.
At this moment, what he was facing was not the small urban area of Zhuhai City and not those buildings with characteristics typical of the 70’s and 80’s, but a wonderful and chaotic landscape. Half of the buildings were towering high-rise buildings, retro buildings and spacious roads showing the characteristics of the times, while the other half were low-rise residential buildings with their narrow streets filled with anxiety-inducing crowds.
Mechanical construction booms hovered over the city while old brick walls were collapsing thunderously at the same time. The unprecedented upsurge of construction in Chinese history was going on in this city. All the new and old trends, order and chaos, seemed to be mixed together and the city was bursting with astonishing vitality.
Only in this era and in this place could you feel the accuracy and charm of this description. And in this city what was waiting for him was something that couldn’t be refused. With a slight smile, Chen Yuanming quickened his pace and merged into the noisy crowd.
At this time, it was already January 23rd 1992. As the new year approached, there was a significant decrease in the number of migrant workers on the streets and pedestrians were often local residents of Shanghai. Buying new year’s goods and preparing new year’s gifts was the top priority. However, Chen Yuanming did not choose the popular shopping streets and malls, but instead came to the gate of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
For this day, he had been preparing in Shanghai for more than half a month. As soon as accurate information was announced on January 13, he had slowly begun to roll out his plans.
Now was the critical moment to test its effectiveness.
A quick glance at the bank’s entrance saw an aunt sitting in boredom at the counter of a small store thirty meters away. It was almost New Year’s Day and she was still holding on to her post waiting for business to arrive … Chen Yuanming smiled and walked directly to her.
A salutation in polite mandarin interrupted Aunt Sun’s winter listlessness, but as soon as she raised her eyes, she immediately shook herself awake. Standing at the door of the shop was a teenager. He was neither tall nor short. He was very handsome and was wearing a branded coat and sweater. He was dressed like a wealthy man. Although he was a foreigner, he was not poor. As a small shopkeeper who habitually people-watched, Aunt Sun was shrewd. This was definitely a potential customer!
“Ah, young man, would you like to buy something? The shop was full of stuff, cigarettes, alcohol, drinks, and long-distance calling cards …” Aunt Sun smiled and greeted enthusiastically while trying to change to a standard Mandarin accent with a strong flavor of Shanghai.
Shaking his head, Chen Yuanming replied politely, “I am not here to shop. Auntie, it’s like this, hasn’t Shanghai issued a stock subscription certificate recently? I had heard that the stock market has been very good in the past two years and I just want to invest. Who knew that according to the bank the purchase of a subscription certificate requires one to have Hukuo in Shanghai. So, I have no choice but to inquire whether there is a suitable purchasing agent near this bank?”
Initially when she saw the young man shake his head, Aunt Sun was confused. For a while she thought he was lost and was asking for directions. Who knew that a few words will turn things around again? Subscription certificate? She knows this thing! Two days ago, the bank put out a big advertisement and she had a relative who was a teacher at the school who said that there was a securities company coming to do door-to-door sales. But this was not a good thing to sell. It was clear that the pressure on the sellers of the goods was so severe because there was no one was buying it? This guy looks very smart, but he was not shrewd enough.
But that was what she thought. Instead, Aunt Sun responded otherwise, “Purchasing agent? I haven’t heard of any. Is it possible for anyone to buy the subscription certificate on your behalf? If so, my husband and I are both originally Shanghai Hukuo! Our home is not far away. I can go home and fetch my ID card? “
“This …” Chen Yuanming showed a hesitant and surprised look, “If it’s not disturbing your business, then I will pay you according to the price of a purchasing agent …”
“You’re welcome, no need to be so polite!” Aunt Sun acted very swiftly, reached up and pulled down the big iron door of her store. “Wait for me for a while, I’ll be back soon.” Turning around she rushed to the side.
Chen Yuanming stood there with a smile.
Ten minutes later, one old woman and one young woman emerged from behind the gate of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. When Aunt Sun had announced that she wanted to buy a subscription certificate, the teller had also become agitated.
You must know that after she started selling stock subscription certificates on the 19th she had only been able to sell very few! At this time, in order to promote sales, the bank had set a reward policy for employees. The commission rate for the sale of a subscription certificate was 3 fen (Cents) and her monthly salary was less than 100 yuan. What a bonus it will be if she could sell several hundred!
Several brand-new stock subscription certificates were immediately placed on the table. The female teller put on a professional smile, “How many stock subscription certificates do you need? At present the price of the stock certificate is 30 yuan per certificate, and there are 100 certificates in each book. All the proceeds from the sales will be donated to social welfare services. It is a good deed …”
Though each certificate was sold for 30 yuan. It was still a lottery pick. What was the difference between this and selling lottery tickets? Aunt Sun sneered at the other in disdain. Only this young man here will fall for such a gimmick.
Who knew that the teenager beside her would just smile slightly and say. “Thirty books first.”
Almost at the same time, Aunt Sun and the female teller exclaimed loudly together, attracting a lot of people’s attention. The bank manager on the side also quickly rushed over, but Chen Yuanming didn’t hesitate. He placed his travelling bag directly on the counter and took out several stacks of hundred yuan bills from it.
“There is 90,000 yuan here. Just bring me 30 books.”
The female teller was dazed and did not respond for a long time. The bank manager smiled very quickly and shoved his subordinate from behind, “What are you doing, please bring out the inventory from the stockroom!”
30 books!!! 3000 certificates!!! When this clever teller finally woke up, she exclaimed, turned and ran back. If she tarried any longer this customer would be snatched by her other colleagues and how much commission would she lose?
The bank manager was obviously a little embarrassed by his own clerk’s misbehavior, and he hurried to say something to save face. But at this time, Aunt Sun couldn’t hear anything at all and simply stared at the hundred-dollar bills on the counter. Her heart was pounding. This young man didn’t ask any questions and just smashed out 90,000 yuan. Was this child crazy or …?
With money, goods and a huge commission available, the business transfer was fast. In a short while, 30 stock subscription certificates were piled up in front of Chen Yuanming. However, after his ID card was checked, Chen Yuanming faced the delighted teller and asked lightly, “Can this sale be kept anonymous? I used Aunt Sun’s identity card so it would not be convenient to register the certificates.”
The female teller looked at her boss again for help. The bank manager nodded without hesitation. He had seen more than one such anonymous customer. Some ticket dealers specialized in this kind of trading. As long as the bank could sell the certificates, who cared about the problem of anonymity. With the bank manager’s agreement, of course, 30 anonymous certificates easily fell into Chen Yuanming’s travel bag.
From the start till he walked out of the bank’s door the whole process did not even take a few minutes. Chen Yuanming smiled at Aunt Sun who was still in a daze. “Auntie, please, since you don’t charge a purchasing fee, here is 200 yuan. It’s payment for delaying your work. Please accept it.”
She just run one leg and in less than an hour she had earned two hundred yuan … Aunt Sun hesitantly took the money from Chen Yuanmimg. For a while she was torn and asked, “Is the subscription certificate really so good, You paid 90,000 yuan at once. Should you lose in … “
Chen Yuanming didn’t answer directly, instead he looked at the door of the bank. “Anyway, it’s a lottery. The fewer people who buy, the better, right?”
After speaking, he didn’t say more. He bowed to the other party, turned around and left the bank. Aunt Sun thought about the meaning of this sentence for a while, and suddenly had a bit of enlightenment, yes, if no one knew how good it was, wouldn’t it be great? She then patted her thigh and ran towards the house again.
On this day, Chen Yuanming went to four banks in Shanghai and bought a total of 120 books in the same way, totaling 12,000 stock subscription certificates, all of which were anonymous “whiteboards”.
Sitting in the hotel he had temporarily booked, he carefully re-counted his remaining money, looked at the date recorded on the calendar and breathed out a sigh of relief。
All that remained was to wait.
The author has something to say: Hey, I guess many people have guessed this chapter. Yes, how can you make money without relying on stock subscription certificates in 1992?
As for the background of the subscription certificate and how much it will earn, wait for the next chapter to slowly explore the background. Xdd
Translator Notes: This is a dense chapter but also key. Stay with me folks!
Edit: Chinese currency. 100 fen = 1 yuan –> 100 cents = 1 dollar . You can imagine the teller’s shock. Her salary is less than 100 dollars a month (1200 a year at most). If my math is right the 3 fen commission on C.Y’s 90,000 yuan transaction would earn her 2700 yuan which is more than double what she would earn in a year. A windfall. lol
 For those unfamiliar with China, note that Chinese accents can be regional because various areas of China have their own specific dialect and languages. The predominant dialect spoken in Shanghai would be Shanghainese and not the standard mandarin (Putonghua) that most of us are familiar with in the west and consider “Chinese”. Note however that the language of instruction across china is however Putonghua.
 A Hukuo refers to a local residential permit or household register. In china this was and still is very important. In the past to control rural and urban migration Individuals were categorized by the state as either rural or urban and assigned to geographic areas often based on one’s place of birth. Travel between these areas were permitted only under controlled conditions and residents were not given access to jobs, public services, education, healthcare, or food in areas outside of their designated area. Aside marriage and few other avenues one would have to pay exorbitant sums of money to officials to secretly move your Hukuo. See https://www.thoughtco.com/chinas-hukou-system-1434424 . This is what a hukou looks like:
What CYM needed here was someone with a Shanghai Hukuo; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hukou
 In 1992 in order to trade on the stock market you needed a stock subscription certificate. China employed a lottery system because there were too many buyers for few stocks. Thus the subscription certificates became a high demand commodity. https://www.afr.com/markets/equity-markets/chinas-new-gambling-addiction-20150701-gi2pbt.
This is what the certificate looked like:
 Whiteboard refers to anonymous or unregistered stock subscription certificates. I think of a “whiteboard” as a blank check. Anyone’s name could be written on it.