More than 114,000 Chinese Avon ladies will be calling at homes in the People's Republic as the company resumes direct sales across the vast nation.

The New York-headquartered cosmetics firm has undertaken a massive recruitment drive following the lifting of the 1998 ban on all direct sales imposed by the Chinese authorities [WAMN: 01-Mar-06]. The restrictions were introduced to combat fears of economic disruption caused by failed illegal pyramid selling schemes.

Avon says it is also processing a further 31,000 applications from potential salespeople. Comments SK Kao, general manager for China: "We are very pleased with the roll-out of our new business model."

As a result of the ban Avon had been forced to sell its products through 5,700 beauty outlets in the country. It now plans to integrate retail and personal sales operations, with the stores serving as sales training grounds and centers for customer service issues such as product returns.

Despite the relaxation of restrictions, the Beijing government is anxious the market does not develop too quickly or haphazardly. New rules state direct sellers are not allowed to spread superstition, sell erotic material or encourage violence. Training cannot be held in government, military or school buildings.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff