In the end, Shen Xi rejected Li Mingxuan’s invitation. Faced with Shen Xi’s refusal, Li Mingxuan had a vague feeling of relief in addition to disappointment.
His previous actions were not under his control; the moment the words were spoken, his reason already began to resist. He knew it was his body’s instinctive warning that his behaviour went beyond expectations.
A few days ago he was shocked to realise that he was paying too much attention to Shen Xi, far more than a cousin would pay to a cousin, not to mention the fact that there was not much affection between him and Shen Xi. He didn’t want to think about the reasons for this, and only warned himself to control his behaviour and refrain from paying attention to Shen Xi’s affairs. He remembered this resolution but once again behaved out of control. Li Mingxuan had no desire to regret what he had said, he just wanted to pull himself together and get back on track.
When Shen Xi turned him down, Li Mingxuan felt he was back in a safe place. He had been a man of great self-control since he was a child, and he had a detailed plan for his life. There was only one thing in the past twenty years that had deviated from his plan, and that was his sexual orientation. He did not want a second thing in his life to deviate from the plan.
Li Mingxuan calmly drove away, the silhouette of Shen Xi in the rear-view mirror still lonely. Li Mingxuan averted his eyes a little to look ahead.
Left behind by Li Mingxuan, Shen Xi dialled Lao K’s phone number, “Let’s release the news tomorrow.”
“So soon?” Lao K was puzzled.
Shen Xi raised an eyebrow, “That’s thanks to Chu Qianqian.”
The moment he hung up the phone, Shen Xi turned his head to look at the Shen family’s house in the twilight. In the hazy night, the Shen’s mansion stood there like a behemoth. After decades of ups and downs, the Shen family seemed to be indestructible. But Shen Xi knew that soon this behemoth would split apart from within. Then in the not too distant future, there would no longer be a Shen family in Zhongjing.
This thought made Shen Xi smile with satisfaction.
The next day, a piece of news quietly appeared in a second-rate tabloid in Zhongjing. The news was just an ordinary sample test report: “Yunrou shampoo found to contain the cancerogenic chemical dioxane”.
This unimpressive newspaper, they published many such sensational stories every day, all of them as quiet as a water drop splashing into the sea. But what no one expected was that the story would soon become a hot topic on the internet, and overnight the newspaper, which normally didn’t sell much, would be miraculously sold out of stock, while at the same time the news caused an uproar across the country.
“Carcinogens found in Yunrou shampoo!”
“Dioxane = cancer? Yunrou = cancer?”
“Shen Group’s subsidiary caught in cancer-causing scandal!”
Countless controversies were stirred up on the internet, with major mainstream media following suit, and Shen Group was once again thrust into the limelight so soon after the inheritance storm.
This time Shen Group was no longer faced with the wild speculations of reporters in the entertainment section, and Shen Group could not just laugh it off as it had done in the past. Looking at the front page headline with huge bold letters “Dioxane”, Shen Dehan knew that if this was not handled properly, it would not only ruin Yunrou’s reputation, but also Shen Group’s reputation of nearly a hundred years.
Shen Dehan sat in his study in deep thought, pondering about the countermeasures for this matter.
Because he had just been discharged from the hospital, Shen Dehan did not rush to go to Shen Group’s office, but chose to recuperate at home for a period of time. It was Shen Ji who was currently sitting in Shen Group’s office. Six months ago, Shen Dehan was deeply concerned about getting older and had gradually started to delegate his power to Shen Ji. Although the board of directors had some questions about Shen Ji’s age, they were all silenced by Shen Dehan’s firm attitude. In Shen Dehan’s opinion, sooner or later, Shen Group’s business would have to be handed over to Shen Ji. Now it was just a few years earlier; while he was still in good health, he could watch and guide Shen Ji if there were any problems.
Shen Dehan was overly optimistic and did not anticipate that the first test Shen Ji would face would be so severe.
Although there was some misunderstanding with Shen Ji yesterday because of Chu Qianqian’s matter, there was no such thing as overnight hatred between the father and the son. After thinking about it, Shen Dehan dialled Shen Ji’s number.
Shen Ji looked at the flashing word “Father” and hesitated for a moment before picking up the phone, “Father.”
“Ah Ji, have you seen the news?” Shen Dehan’s voice was as kind as ever, as if nothing had happened before.
Shen Ji had an indescribable feeling in his heart, “I saw it, I have arranged for the public relations department to call a press conference as soon as possible to explain the situation.”
“How do you plan to do that?” Shen Dehan inquired.
Shen Ji did not hesitate, “Show all of Yunrou’s inspection reports and use facts to show that all Yunrou’s products are produced in strict accordance with the requirements of the current national laws, regulations and standards. They have undergone strict quality control and passed a number of quality inspection certifications and testing procedures. They absolutely meet domestic and international quality and safety requirements and are completely harmless to the human body.”
Listening to Shen Ji’s standard wording, Shen Dehan questioned, “Then how will you explain if the reporters ask about dioxane?”
Shen Ji said after a slight hesitation, “The dioxane in Yunrou products is not deliberately added during our production process, it is only a by-product of the manufacturing process. Because the raw materials contain residues that are technically unavoidable, the products carry the traces of natural residues, which are absolutely harmless to the human body.”
Both Shen Dehan and Shen Ji tacitly concealed the fact that dioxane was not unique to Yunrou but could be found in all brands of shampoo. The existence of dioxane was something that the entire industry knew about, but no one had ever dared to reveal it.
Shen Ji’s wording was very reasonable, and Shen Dehan only proposed, “For now, let’s take all Yunrou circulating on the market off the shelves. This will also show the company’s responsible attitude towards consumers.”
“No!” Shen Ji categorically rejected Shen Dehan’s proposal without even thinking about it.
Shen Group had a history of nearly a hundred years; it started off with industry and then gradually involved real estate and financial investment. Because of the state’s policies in real estate and financial investment, Shen Group had made a lot of profits in these two areas, and the company’s focus had shifted to them.
However, in recent years, because of the impact of the international economic and financial crisis, the domestic economic situation was also very bad. After several studies, the state put forward the slogan of “revitalising the economy through industry”, encouraging people to invest in industry instead of putting money in real estate and financial markets, and offered a one-off 6 trillion yuan bailout.
Against this background, Shen Ji proposed that the company’s focus should return to industry, and took the initiative to acquire a household chemical company that was on the verge of closing down. Shen Ji then persuaded the board of directors to allocate funds and invested heavily in the establishment of a research and development laboratory in collaboration with a foreign shampoo giant. After a year of preparation, “Yunrou” shampoo was launched. The name was given by Shen Ji himself, “Yun” in memory of his mother and “Rou” (soft) to indicate the qualities of the shampoo.
With its unique positioning and fashionable packaging, Yunrou shampoo soon entered the domestic household chemical industry and became a dark horse, with sales booming over the years. Driven by profit, the directors who were dissatisfied with the shift in focus to industry had closed their mouths. Shen Ji originally submitted a report to the board of directors that he intended to expand the production line and sell the products abroad. He even negotiated a contract with a foreign company and purchased the latest production line, but he did not expect to encounter the “dioxane” incident when everything was going so well.
It could be said that Yunrou had a unique significance to Shen Ji. At this time, Shen Dehan proposed to take Yunrou off the shelves, even if just to show the attitude. It was not a distrust of Yunrou, but distrust of him.
Shen Ji’s refusal was expected, but Shen Ji’s unhesitating rejection was far beyond Shen Dehan’s expectation. It was not that he had not had conflicts with Shen Ji on decision-making in the past, including the acquisition of Yunrou back then, and it was Shen Ji who persuaded him several times. But this time, Shen Ji’s tone was too forceful. Shen Dehan suddenly thought of Shen Ji’s defiance last night, and a hint of dislike flickered in his heart.
“Why?” Shen Dehan tried his best to make his tone seem calm and peaceful.
Shen Ji did not hear Shen Dehan’s displeasure, or rather he heard it but deliberately ignored it, his attitude remaining firm, “I have confidence in Yunrou.” After this sentence, there was no other explanation.
Shen Dehan was silent for a while, “Okay, let’s do it your way first.”
Although the father and the son did not cross their swords like last night, the hidden discord between them seemed to be more serious than last night.
Yunrou’s carcinogenic incident was getting more and more intense. Although Shen Ji held a press conference at the first opportunity, personally attended it and sincerely stated that all the company’s products met international and domestic standards, while demonstrating a series of test certificates, for the majority of consumers these explanations were too feeble. Not to mention the fact that with the help of people behind the scenes, the word “Yunrou” seemed to become equated with cancer on the internet.
Along with all this, there was a wild fall in Shen Group’s stock price, and if it wasn’t for the emergency suspension of Shen Group’s stock trading, it would be hard to imagine what the stock price would have fallen to.
Lao K looked at the latest quotation of Shen Group’s stock and gloated as he spoke to Shen Xi, “Tsk, in just one day, the entire market value of Shen Group has evaporated by over a billion. Xiao Xixi, you’ve lost a lot.”
Shen Xi was unfazed by his teasing, “I wasn’t going to ask for it anyway, it doesn’t matter how much.”
Lao K made a heartbroken face, “What are you going to do next?”
Shen Xi’s eyes swept over the large word “cancer” and he smiled as he spoke, “Naturally, I’m going to add fuel to this fire.”
Lao K thought of the people that Shen Xi had asked him to find before, and had a clear idea of Shen Xi’s next move.
A day after the news of Yunrou causing cancer emerged, several consumers in Zhongjing filed a lawsuit against Shen Group. They insisted that they had been using Yunrou shampoo for the past two years and unfortunately they had all recently been tested for cancer. They demanded an explanation from Shen Group and added a hefty claim.
If the report a few days ago was just a small fire, the appearance of these people had turned that small fire into a big one.
It was clear to anyone who gave it a thought that someone behind the scene was deliberately targeting Shen Group. But understanding it didn’t mean anything; whether it was the internet or the media, Yunrou’s cancer news was overwhelming, and the consumers were in uproar, demanding to return the products and receive compensation.
At this time, Shen Dehan had to step in. Although it was forced by the situation, it undoubtedly signified his distrust of Shen Ji’s ability in the eyes of everyone in the company.
In the spacious office, Shen Dehan once again demanded that all Yunrou be removed from the shelves.
Shen Ji remained firm, “If Yunrou is taken off the shelves at this time, doesn’t it just show our guilt?”
Shen Dehan frowned, “How long do you want to carry on?”
Shen Ji insisted, “I have confidence in Yunrou. Father, you can also see that there is someone behind all this. Yunrou’s rise has affected other people’s interests, we just need to catch that person and we will succeed in turning passivity into initiative.”
“How do you plan to do that?”
“I’ve already sent someone to contact the reporters who first reported the story, as well as the consumers who filed the lawsuit. Under the temptation of big money, I don’t believe there is anything I can’t ask from them. ”
Perhaps feeling that this was not convincing enough, Shen Ji looked at his father seriously, “Father, you once said that a crisis is sometimes a turning point. Although this matter is Yunrou’s crisis, it will be resolved and isn’t it a good opportunity for us to develop further?”
Shen Ji’s remarks finally touched Shen Dehan. Shen Dehan firmly showed his support for Shen Ji to the board of directors. The relationship between the father and the son was reconciled and everything seemed to go back to the way it was before.