7.12.17

Easier to do business in India: Doug DeVos, Amway Corporation

Amway Corporation, the world's largest direct selling company, expects its India operations to become half a billion dollar business in threefive years, Doug DeVos, global president of the $8.8-billion US company, told ET in an exclusive interview. 

In India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, DeVos said the global business community’s perception OF India has improved significantly in recent months. “There's this perception going around the world that India is moving pretty strong,” he said. 
“Rankings such as the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business are really important for the global business community; the visibility and reputation India is getting around the world is increasingly positive,” DeVos said. 

“So it’s a huge measure for the world to see — that it’s becoming easier to do business here.” India jumped 30 notches to break into the top 100 in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking this year, and Moody’s Investor Service upgraded sovereign rating for the first time in 14 years. 

Amway, which makes Nutrilite protein powder, Satinique shampoo and Artistry skin products, will debut an ayurvedic products range in India early next year, in response to consumer trends, to address nutrition needs. 

With revenues closing at Rs 2,000 crore, India is Amway's seventh largest market currently and DeVos said the target is to make it the fifth biggest market in two-three years. China continues to be its biggest market, followed by the US, Japan and Korea. “India has a reasonable expectation to break into the top five markets,” he said. 

Amway Corp has invested over Rs 1,000 crore the country, and will continue to, incrementally, he said. 

While Amway, along with other direct sellers, have been facing issues of legislation, DeVos said directives to define legitimate direct selling on consumer protection are progressive. Direct selling is a model where companies sell products to consumers through agents instead of retail stores. 


“We know it (perceptions about direct selling) will take time to solidify but the direction is clear,” DeVos said. 

“Perception is not sorted out completely. The market place is so big, there remains confusion about our business model. But that’s the case in many markets around the world. We understand what it takes to move forward and the priorities that the country has and how we fit as an industry.” 
Amway India, making almost all products locally, is working to be part of the parent’s global supply chain. “We want to grow fast, but we also want to make sure it’s sustainable,” DeVos said. “The Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation slowed us down a bit, but this is the future.” 

While it leads the Rs 8,000-crore direct selling industry in the country, Amway competes with Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble across categories. 
“Our challenge is execution, how to get and keep more customers, hit the right price points, to meet launch schedules. Execution is becoming easier in India. The environment is very strong and this is a growing economy; as the economy grows, wealth will grow,” DeVos said. 

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