Source: 6/2/2010

Amway To Send 13000 Top Sellers To Southern California

Last weekend, Southern California was greeted with full bus loads of Chinese tourists visiting the local hotspots such as Disneyland and the local malls in convoys of 100. The waves of Chinese consumers will be coming over the course of the next month and are estimated to give the local economy a $10 million boost.

The estimated cost of the caravan is around $80 million and is funded by the Michigan-based company known as Amway, a direct-selling company that boasts a sales force of over 3 million people in 80 countries and territories around the world. Amway China is sending its top earners, all of whom sold over $160,000 worth of makeup, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid and its Nutrilite vitamin supplements; in order to enjoy a hard-earned vacation. Amway indicated that the planning for such an event was very challenging, and required a tremendous amount of planning and math, which is common within the Chinese populace due to having such a dense population.

Initially, Amway had a difficult time becoming established in China when it first set up a base of operations 1995. Three years later the government of China banned direct sales dubbing it a pyramid scheme, causing Amway to react by opening retail stores where sales began to skyrocket.

"Sending salespeople from China to Southern California is a big perk, but it will pay off. For people working in sales, frustration and rejection are things they deal with every day. They need incentives. A cash incentive is great. But there is something more powerful than that. A trip to L.A. is a dream for a lot of Chinese people." said Martin Liou, vice president of Amway Greater China, who is based in Taiwan.

"I was stunned. I have never heard of 13,000 tourists from any one country coming at any one time for leisure travel. That is very exciting, It can also be a logistical nightmare, keeping up with your group and making sure you don't lose anybody along the way." said Lisa Simon, president of the National Tour Assn., a nonprofit trade group based in Lexington, Ky.

Amway's vacationers will visit over the course of 5 weeks, with each group staying in California for a total of 7 days. Each group will be divided in order to avoid overwhelming the local eateries and consumer outlets, however, despite the divisions, the numbers are still astounding by American tour standards, say experts. Tourism officials explained that the move is one of the largest tour groups ever encountered.

Among Amway's prime areas of operations, China has become its largest and most lucrative markets with 200,000 business owners recruiting new sellers and introducing its products door to door.

Californian businesses will definitely feel the wave caused by its 13,000 guests, and one key area to benefit the most is Anaheim due to its close proximity with Disneyland as well as the headquarters of Nutrilite in Buena Park.

Amazingly, each individual that makes up the 13,000 visitors had to undergo a face-to-face interview with an American visa officer, and due to the vast size of China and its many cities, getting them to the interviews was very challenging, and a large number of the Amway applicants were turned down without explanation.

"The fact that people who qualify for the incentive trip can't go is very disappointing to us. We might reconsider our plans to return to the United States for future trips. If we go to Australia, it's 100% approval rate, and they do it faster, cheaper and with no need for appointments and face-to-face interviews." said Carl Wen, associate director of special events for Amway in China, who has helped plan Amway incentive trips to Australia and Taiwan.

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