Roughly 28,000 young women crowded into the Dragon Sports Arena here for a three-day gathering in September hosted by Mary Kay Cosmetics.
The goal was to pump up the crowd, and the song-and-dance troupe, the video testimonials about transformed lives and the awarding of the signature pink Cadillac to a top earner had the desired effect.
â€œI love the corporate culture of Mary Kay,â€ said Zhang Xiaoying, a 19-year-old woman from Guizhou, one of the countryâ€™s poorest regions, as she and several colleagues dabbed on makeup during a break in the event. â€œThis company teaches you to aspire to a higher level.â€
Ms. Zhang earns very little in her new job. But the promise of future rewards is what has persuaded her and about 200,000 other women to become â€œbeauty consultants,â€ or independent sales agents, for Mary Kay in China.
But that growth has not come without controversy. Many direct sellers in China have been accused of operating sophisticated pyramid schemes and other sales swindles.
Logo from Mary Kay