US cosmetics and healthcare product firms Amway, Mary Kay and Perfect have won approval for their direct selling model in China jut before a deadline, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said.
This brings the number of holders of direct-selling licenses here to 13, including 10 foreign-funded companies.
The firms, which count Avon Products Inc and Nu Skin Enterprises Inc among their rivals, were awarded licenses on Dec 1, the last day before a ban on unlicensed door-to-door selling.
In 1998, Beijing launched regulations aimed at curtailing domestic pyramid schemes, where direct sellers were forced also to sell products in beauty boutiques. The ministry last year began reviewing applications ahead of a full ban this month.
Amway, whose sales in the country of 15 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion) last year accounted for almost one-third of its global total, had been facing a possible end to its business model in the country, a company official said.
The firm has over 180,000 registered sales representatives in the country, where sales last year were almost nine times bigger than those of its main global competitor, Avon, according to data from the China Health Care Association.
Avon, the world¡¯s largest direct seler of cosmetics, won approval in February to return to its favored direct-selling model, followed by Nu Skin in July.