There are three parts to this puzzle and they can be solved mostly in parallel:
- The kids' names formed from words in "Hundreds of Chinese Surnames"
- The alleged "meaning" of the names
- The ladders to be constructed from letter-pieces
Given that this is a story about "Chinese names", with some Googling (or help from Chinese speakers) one might realize that these are the official transliteration of various brand names in Chinese, and then interpreted literally. The solver is expected to identify the brands' original names. In some cases, Google Translate is smart enough to match such character-by-character translation to the brand name. For example "Ten-thousand treasure road" will directly yield 万宝路; if the solver googles that again, they'll discover it's the Chinese name for "Marlboro". In other cases, if the solvers noticed that this is a character-by-character translation, they can translate each English word and pick the top single character translation, which will almost always be the character intended. For example, "happiness" may be translated as "幸福", but the best single character that it translates to would be "喜".
The nine names and the brands they represent are:
|High Prosperous||高盛||GOLDMAN SACHS|
|West Gate Son||西门子||SIEMENS|
|Hundred Old Converge||百老汇||BROADWAY|
|Loving Horse Official||爱马仕||HERMES|
|Chinese Fort King||汉堡王||BURGERKING|
|Abstruse Profit Abstruse||奥利奥||OREO|
|Ten-thousand Treasure Road||万宝路||MARLBORO|
The letter pieces can be placed into the ladder gaps to form nine words (in alphabetical order):
Each corresponds to a brand name identified above. This step is also meant to help solvers narrow down the search if they haven't identified all nine brand names yet.
The flavor text "Hundreds of Chinese Surnames" points to a classic Chinese text of the same name, containing (as it says) a list of Chinese surnames. Each word in the kids' names is a Chinese surname and can be found at the beginning of the text (there are homophones, but we only look at "the first couple dozens"); by taking their positions and translating them to letters, the nine names translate into a clue phrase "ADD NUMS THAT TOUCH FIND WAY UP GHOST LEG".
This hints at the lottery system "ghost leg" used in East Asia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Leg). We arrange the ladders in the order of kids A-I, i.e. FINANCIAL ladder for kid A (Goldman Sachs), BEERMAKER ladder for kid B (Heineken), … , sum overlapping numbers per instruction, and get a ghost leg chart. Following the "ghost legs" and match the bottom rails to a number on top:
Finally, as the kids "climb up" "grabbing the rails left hand before right hand", for each kid, we take the numbers corresponding to the left and right rail of his ladder, and index into the brand name:
Spelling out ANSWER GOLDEN BAMBOO, so GOLDEN BAMBOO is the answer.