Friday, October 4, 2013

Amway does China

Since its founding in small-town Michigan in 1959, Amway has pitched its direct-sales system — a corporatized version of peddlers going door to door — as a path to wealth and happiness. Now, its “American Way” depends increasingly on China, which accounted for almost 40 percent of parent company Alticor’s $11.3 billion in global revenue last year. That’s remarkable, considering that China banned direct selling 15 years ago, endangering Amway’s growth.
Amway won back its place in China by changing its business model and opening stores. It also improved its reputation by teaming up with the United States’ most prestigious school: Harvard University.
In a program bankrolled by Amway at a cost of about $1 million a year, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has been training Communist apparatchiks known as Amway fellows. Since it started in 2002, the program has brought more than 500 Chinese officials to Cambridge, Mass., to study public management for a few weeks. They also visit Amway’s headquarters in Ada, Mich.
John Stewart Service, where are you?

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