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Chapter 107 - Humidifier

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“Manager Liu, does our First Departmental store have a humidifier?” Feng Yu sat in the First Department store manager’s office.

These few days he felt the air was too dry and wanted to buy a humidifier. But he did not expect First Departmental Store to not carry such products.

“Humidifier? What’s that? I had never heard of it before.” Manager Liu replied with a surprised face.

Never heard before? Feng Yu’s eyes started rolling. The humidifier was not invented yet? No. He remembered that the humidifier had existed for a long time and was used for industrial purposes. But it was not used for household appliances.

This was great! This humidifier will bring in lots of money for him.

“Manager Liu, don’t you think the air in your office is too dry? Wouldn’t it be more comfortable if the air is not so dry?”

“What can I do? I can’t be sprinkling water on the floor. It will be too dirty.”

Feng Yu laughed and did not say a word. He spoke to Manager Liu about his pork, and Manager Liu will order 1000 KG of pork from Feng Yu if he had the pork before New Year.

After leaving First Departmental Store, Feng Yu returned to the Motor Factory.

“What happened? No one is buying your pork? How much pork do you have left? If it is a few thousand KG, we will buy it and give it to the front-line workers.” Li Shiyou thought Feng Yu was there to promote his pork and decided to buy some out of goodwill.

When Feng Yu was bullied by Song Xiaofeng, the Motor Factory did not help Feng Yu. If not, that Soviet Union machinery and technologies would be sold to the Motor Factory first.

“Director Li, I am not here to sell pork. All my pork was sold. The Machinery Company had bought it all. I had an idea and wanted to ask if the Motor Factory is willing to help me achieve it.’”

Li Shiyou became interested when he heard Feng Yu said this. The Motor Factory had never suffered any losses when they corporate with Feng Yu.

“What idea do you have? Our factory is one of the best in China when it comes to electrical motors and products.”

Feng Yu waved his hands and said: “Director Li, the thing I wanted to make is not too complicated. I just want to make a humidifier. Put it simply, it’s just using a heating rod to change water into steam to change the humidity of the air indoors.”

“Change the indoor humidity?”

“Yes. Don’t you think your office is too dry? The winter in the Northeast region is like this. If you are not careful, you can get a respiratory infection and will make your throat hurts.” Feng Yu carried on saying.

“I can just put an electric kettle in my office, and it will solve all those problems.”

Shit, it was still possible to work!

“You think it would be suitable to place an electric kettle in your office? I intend to use plastic or glass to make this humidifier. Transparent, beautiful and we can put some designs on the exterior. Also, this humidifier can prevent colds effectively.”

“You sure?”

“Of course. You try it, and you will know. This humidifier must be at least this big and 1 heating rod is enough……” Feng Yu start to describe how the humidifier would look like.

“Please wait a while. Let me call a few people here.” Li Shiyou’s secretary called a few engineers over to listen to Feng Yu’s idea so they would have a rough estimate of how much a unit would cost.

“Mr. Feng, you want to use glass for this humidifier then you have to use heat-resistant glass. But the cost would not be low and glass breaks easily and it would not be easy for transportation. If you are using plastics, you must also use plastics that can withstand high heat. The cost would not be cheap too. The cost for the heating rods is cheap, and it’s not hard for us to produce it. How much is Mr. Feng willing to pay us per unit?” One workshop director asked.

“How much do you all want?”

The few men looked at each other and softly discussed. It was the same workshop director replied: “30 RMB. We need to modify our current facilities a bit, and the assembly of the parts was a bit troublesome. So, your minimum order must not be less than 5,000 units.”

The contractor required 30 RMB, and the cost of the raw materials would need more than 10 RMB. This price was higher than what Feng Yu expected. But Feng Yu was confident to be able to sell off all 5,000 units. Worse come to worse, he can export to the Soviet Union. Brother Ki who likes garbage…… no, it’s novelty products, would not reject.

“I want the plastic types. 2 models and the first production is 5,000 units. I can pay 30,000 RMB deposit? How long would the production be completed?”

“We need to construct the mold first. Our side should be fast, and it will depend on the plastic factory. It should be about 10 days.”

Fine. 10 days. Directory Li, can we sign the contract now?”

The next morning, Feng Yu returned to the Motor factory. The prototype was ready. Feng Yu looked at the prototype. The plastic had no designs at all. The colors were very plain to the point you can consider it ugly. Who would be willing to place such things on the table? 

“Director Li, these 2 pieces are detachable. This piece, make it into white color and the other blue. This part needs to be transparent. This part needs to have a bit of pattern. Our logo will be printed on this part. Words need to be printed here. Most importantly, there must be no leakage, and it must be convenient to change water…”

Feng Yu pointed out many changes to the prototype, and the engineers jolted all these. Anyway, the changes were all on the plastic exterior. They were not responsible for the costs. Feng Yu can change all he wants.

“That should be all. I will be collecting the goods in 10 days’ time. If everything is ready, then maybe we can do this for the long term.”

Imitating an electric humidifier was easy. But what about an ultrasonic humidifier? Those big state-owned factories had the ultrasonic technologies, but those smaller factories do not have the means. If Feng Yu remembered correctly, the state-owned factory, which the state invested heavily into, should be producing humidifier for industrial purposes. The humidifier for the households will only appear in 1990.

If Feng Yu was still not able to capture the market when he was 1 year ahead of time, that means he was hopeless.

Feng Yu went straight to the Newspaper agency and change the advertisement for the next day. The soybean oil and sugar advertisements were ongoing for a long time. Everyone had remembered Tai Hua brand. Now, it’s time to remind everyone about Wind and Rain brand.

The advertisement on the first day, there was only a flower pot size picture. Many people can’t tell what the product was. It looks like plastic and the designs were quite pretty.

The second day, there was a short article about the harmful effects of being in an environment of low humidity. For instance, more prone to catch colds and respiratory infections

The third day, the article talks about the benefits of having high humidity.

The fourth day, there were a few words in big fonts: Wind and Rain Electrical Appliances is back!

The impact of the advertisement on the fourth day was more significant than the first 3 days. Everyone was curious. Wind and Rain Electrical Appliances was the company that introduced the Wind and Rain fans. The boss of this company is stupid? Selling fans in the middle of winter?

Wind and Rain Electrical Appliances became the laughing stock for a lot of people. The next day, many people were still discussing the advertisements. However, there were some who guessed that Wind and Rain would be introducing a new product that was related to the articles on humidity.

“Wind and Rain humidifier, your best indoor companion.”

This advertising message had occupied the full-page advertisement for consecutive 5 days. This made everyone to take note of it. Everyone was curious about the humidifier. This was a product that will increase the humidity? Will this product be useful? Where can we buy it?

Author notes:

The first humidifier in China was introduced by a company called Yadu, and it occupied 70% of the market share. But they started off with industrial humidifier and a subsidiary of a state-owned enterprise in Beijing. The humidifier for households was only introduced in 1990. Later, the company was privatized and converted to a shareholding company.

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