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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Enter Eva Cheng

A native of Hong Kong, Cheng graduated from Hong Kong University in 1975 with a bachelor of arts degree and an MBA. Tall, striking, intelligent, and determined, Cheng at first worked as a government official. Then she spotted an advertisement for a secretary at Amway and decided business might be a better career for her. She liked the idea of working for an American company, even though at the time direct selling was not well known in Hong Kong. Within three years after joining Amway, Cheng was named president of Amway Hong Kong after her boss left. At the time, there were only four employees. Managers from Ada “looked around—there was a receptionist, a part-time bookkeeper, and a warehouseman—and they asked me to take over,” she recalled.2 Amway’s sales in Hong Kong were lagging and Cheng set about boosting them. She opened Amway’s first store there in 1979 and hired workers to do cooking demonstrations; she washed the dishes in the bathroom. By the mid-1980s Cheng had taken over the market in Taiwan and by the 1990s she had grown the Amway business into the largest direct seller in Hong Kong.

Cheng often told Amway’s headquarters it should enter the market into mainland China, which was beginning to open its previously closed doors to foreign investment and enterprises. “If Hong Kong is a pond, then Taiwan is a lake, and mainland China is the sea,” Cheng liked to say.3 Once Rich gave the go-ahead to proceed, Amway began preparing for its launch upon that sea. ...

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