Now everything was ready but the east wind (lacking only one crucial item).
There were many things that Fu Zhiyu didn’t need to do himself; such as the change of those backward villages; the governors of various cities were to be responsible for them. The seeds given by Yuan Jiangwen had been shipped to various places, and this group of officials had to distribute them from top to bottom, and it couldn’t be a decoration as it used to be before.
Fu Zhiyu didn’t have three heads and six arms. No matter how capable he was, he still had to rely on the people below. Besides, he had other important things to do.
After that, Yuan Jiangwen sent in a group of craftsmen, and then the Qian family, Deng family, and Lin family also followed suit.
“The craftsmen of the Qian family know the most about looms, and the Lin family has the largest number of properties under their control. The best waterwheels and ploughs in Jiangnan are all made by their family. Their carpenters and blacksmiths are the best. The Deng family knows how to build houses. As for our own family, I won’t hide from you, we are not as good as them in terms of technology, but our family runs a money bank and has more cash than them,” Yuan Jiangwen smiled, “Yuan Lu has got a group of excellent jade craftsmen, but jade is a precious thing after all, many people may not be able to touch jade for the rest of their lives after learning it. For the time being it is not suitable to push it to the common people, it is useless to learn it.”
Fu Zhiyu nodded, indicating that he knew.
These top craftsmen were the treasures of various merchants, and they were much more valuable than a shop.
Qian Manguan was pretty distressed when delivering them, but he turned to Fu Zhiyu and told the truth: “Although they are craftsmen of my family, you must also know that we are actually in an employment relationship. I am usually polite to them and never dare to offend them. After all, their history is much longer than that of my Qian family. Just take those few embroiderers, among them there are the proper heirs of Suzhou embroidery (one of the four major traditional styles of Chinese embroidery), it is not exaggerated to say that they will enter the history books in the future, I can send them in person to Wang Zhao, but this craft…”
Qian Manguan hesitated for a moment, and then said: “Family craft is generally not passed on to outsiders. As you know, this is the ancestral rule of many craftsmen. If you try to steal it, you will be punished by death.”
Fu Zhiyu also knew that; he patted Qian Manguan on the shoulder and comforted him: “Master Qian, don’t worry, I’m only borrowing them for a while, afterwards I’ll return them to you in full, and I won’t make things difficult for them.”
Qian Manguan wanted to say something, but kept silent in the end.
Fu Zhiyu looked at his speechless appearance, found it funny, and asked him, “What’s the matter? Do you think you are going to lose money again? Just say it if you have something to say.”
Qian Manguan didn’t dare to say anything, but Qian Manguan felt very aggrieved.
It was just a matter of spending money and energy for someone he didn’t dare to offend to play; that was what he thought in his heart.
“Come, let me show you something.”
Fu Zhiyu took him into the inner room and showed him the drawings of the improved loom he had drawn.
Qian Manguan would have thought that this pampered man wouldn’t know anything about looms, but after a quick glance, he could see that something was different.
He couldn’t care less about respect, so he grabbed the drawing and looked at it.
This improved technique was learned by Fu Zhiyu when he was in the Lord God’s space. He carefully measured the degree to which it could be implemented with the current technology and refined it little by little according to his memory, but after all, he had never worked with it and it was still on paper, so he could only do it by inviting craftsmen over and combining their knowledge.
Therefore, it was not enough to rely on the weavers and embroiderers of the Qian family alone. An improved version of the loom still required good carpenters and blacksmiths from the Lin family. The carpenters could make the frame, but the fine parts used for connection naturally required blacksmiths.
“How can this be called talking on paper!” Qian Manguan looked at the drawings and then at Fu Zhiyu again, with a look of disbelief, “Wang Zhao, where did you get this… God! Where did you get it?”
Qian Manguan subconsciously didn’t think that this was drawn by Fu Zhiyu himself; he felt Fu Zhiyu must have gotten it somewhere by his divine powers, but while he was excited, his mind gradually calmed down.
The most important thing for Qian Manguan was the cloth business. He had seen countless weaving machines, and it was not that he hadn’t thought about improving them. After all, for businessmen, if they could weave more cloth at the same time, they could make more money.
But it was easier said than done.
Fu Zhiyu’s drawing was so detailed that Qian Manguan only needed to look at it for a while to know its value. It was not an exaggeration to say that this thing was priceless.
“What do you mean by that?” Qian Manguan was afraid that Fu Zhiyu would take the drawing back at any time, so he could only rely on his memory to remember every important point on it. Then he boldly proposed, “Why don’t you sell this drawing to me? You make an offer, as long as I can afford it, I will never bargain.”
Fu Zhiyu showed him a light, very kind smile and said, “That’s so troublesome. I’ll give it to you.”
Qian Manguan was struck by such a huge surprise that he couldn’t even speak, stumbling over his words, “Really… really?”
“Really,” Fu Zhiyu said, “There are just a few small conditions.”
There was a hint of cunning in his smile, like a little fox wagging its tail.
As he had said, the wealthy merchants didn’t bring only bad things to Jiangnan. They had a strong foundation in Jiangnan. There were some things that the wealthy merchants could do that were more useful and easier to accept than the government.
Fu Zhiyu wanted to rely on these machines – taking the looms as an example – and build a number of factories based on the businesses of the merchants to provide a new means of survival for the people of Jiangnan.
The Qian family originally had a weaving workshop, but most of the workers there were long-term workers who had signed a deed of sale, and they had not yet formed the kind of active weaving industry that Fu Zhiyu wanted.
The development of handicraft industry and agriculture went hand in hand. Once the weaving industry expanded, silkworm farming that provided raw materials was bound to require manpower. Some farmers could cultivate mulberry leaves and raise silkworms without having to be stuck in the rice fields.
“A factory?” Qian Manguan was a bit confused, “What do you want to do?”
In fact, it was very simple. Piece-based remuneration, employment system and so on, these things were not difficult to understand. The last point proposed by Fu Zhiyu was to increase the overall salary, to put it bluntly, to increase people’s wages.
“The Qian family is the leader of the weaving industry, and with the Qian family taking the lead, this matter will be much easier to handle.” Fu Zhiyu said, “I’m not asking you to make less money. The efficiency of weaving improves, and you definitely won’t earn less.”
Qian Manguan scratched his head and didn’t speak for a while.
“I know that now the Qian family’s own weaving workshop actually only produces a small part of the cloth, and it can’t keep up with your family’s shipments. A lot of the cloth sold by the Qian family’s weaving workshop is actually white cloth collected from the outside, and then dyed in the dyeing workshop, cut into clothes and embroidered,” Fu Zhiyu saw Qian Manguan’s hesitation and continued, “Although the price of the original cloth is low, the quality is uneven, causing you an additional headache. But if you produce it in your own factory, you can uniformly purchase silk and uniformly weave it. Fine cloth is handed over to fine people to weave, and ordinary cloth is handed over to ordinary people. A piece of cloth sold, from silk to ready-to-wear clothes, it’s all controlled by you. In this way, you won’t earn less. Don’t sell yourself short when you get a bargain. If you don’t want to do it, more people will want to.”
Qian Manguan was taken aback, and then thought: this man is really like this, using both a carrot and a stick.
The last sentence could be regarded as a warning.
“Let’s do it, let’s do it!” Qian Manguan nodded like a chicken pecking at rice, “What you say is just right.”
But before he left, he glanced at Fu Zhiyu up and down again.
“What are you looking at?”
Qian Manguan was now quite relaxed towards Fu Zhiyu, not as scared as he had been before the meeting.
He now thought this man was really good, and there was no reason to disobey him. Wang Zhao was good-looking and capable.
“Looking at your face,” Qian Manguan cheerfully took the drawing and dared to tease Fu Zhiyu. “I wanted to do this before. I asked the Lin family for a blacksmith and a carpenter but they wouldn’t give them to me. It must be hard to deal with the Lin family.”
Fu Zhiyu was taken aback for a moment and said, “Really?”
No, he thought, it must have been that Qian Manguan spoke in the wrong way, making the Lin family angry for no reason. He thought the Lin family was very good to talk to.
Fu Zhiyu hadn’t had time to go there in person yet. At that time, it was just Yuan Jiangwen who went to test the Lin family’s mood, and they agreed without asking more or asking for more. The next day, the craftsmen came over.
Before Qian Manguan left, he glanced at Fu Zhiyu’s desktop. There were several drawings scattered there, but from a distance, he couldn’t see clearly what was painted on them.
Wang Zhao must still be hiding something else.
Qian Manguan wasn’t so smug that he would think he was the one to get the biggest bonus. If anything, he couldn’t be closer than the Yuan family.
Sure enough, Deng Qian came not long after he left.
Qian Manguan deliberately parked the carriage at the corner of the alley in front of the gate and waited for more than an hour before Deng Qian appeared.
He hurriedly went over and stopped him, pulled Deng Qian over amiably and said, “What did you talk about?”
Deng Qian glanced at him vigilantly, drew his hand back, and didn’t answer.
“Don’t be a stranger,” Qian Manguan glanced around and knew that this was not a place to talk, “Let’s go and find a secluded place.”
Deng Qian couldn’t do anything; his body was still weak and he had no strength to resist, so he could only be pulled away by the sturdy Qian Manguan.
When they arrived at the private room of the restaurant, Qian Manguan said straightforwardly: “Here, let’s be frank, I’ll show you what I have.”
Qian Manguan folded his drawings, hiding some key points and only showing the top picture.
“The loom,” Deng Qian glanced at it, raised the corner of his mouth and smiled, also following his example and folding his own copy of the drawing, “Mine is much better than yours.”
Qian Manguan looked down and said in surprise: “A ship?”
“Yes,” Deng Qian said, “Wang Zhao said, after all, there are limited people in Jiangnan, and you have to sell things to make money. Caravans mostly use horse-drawn carriages. The transportation volume is small and the road losses are large. Although the ships are a little slower, they have a large carrying capacity.”
There were several rivers in Jiangnan, through which one could get to other cities in Jilin, as well as to Southern Xinjiang and the ancient countries of the Western Regions. It was not that the merchants had never used this kind of transportation. The Deng family also had a special shipyard; but compared to the drawing in front of them it could be regarded as small fry.
“Wang Zhao said that he had asked His Majesty to build a new canal to connect the river of the capital with the Ming River in Jiangnan,” Deng Qian said, “Not only to drain the water flow and prevent flooding along the way, but also to facilitate commerce and, later, even to take the water route to the barbarian grasslands in the far north.”