Amway Exports the American Dream to China
Amway broke into the China market in 1995, but three years later the government cracked down on direct sales, calling the business model an illegal pyramid scheme. The Michigan-based company changed its approach, opening actual stores, hiring some employees and eliminating its practice of paying direct commissions to sales reps on the sales made by their new recruits.
These days the Amway brand is a favorite among China’s fast-growing middle class. An army of at least 200,000 peddles more than 200 products, and Amway’s approach works well in a society that values personal connections and word of mouth.
The tourists visiting Southern California this month are the top 5% of Amway’s China sales force. They are the faces of a wealthier, more confident and cosmopolitan China.
Zhou Fanyang has worked for Amway since 1995, earning many an award trip. “I’ve been to more than 40 countries,” she said.