By HANIM ADNAN
THE United States’ leading natural nutritional group, Shaklee Corp, has earmarked Asia as its new growth market, with Malaysia playing a pivotal role as the gateway to strengthen its businesses within the region.
Chairman and chief executive officer Roger Barnett said that it was “timely” for Shaklee to venture abroad, particularly into Asia’s newly emerging economies such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.
Roger BarnettHe said Shaklee’s Malaysian operation was an excellent platform to launch Shaklee products in Asia due to its multi-cultural aspects and centralised location within the region.
“We foresee Shaklee’s Asian business to double over the next five years, with the opening of new markets like Taiwan and China to fuel our future growth significantly,” Barnett told StarBiz in an interview in conjunction with Shaklee’s 50th anniversary in San Francisco.
The event attracted more than 10,000 distributors from its five global marketing countries – Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the US.
Barnett said Shaklee had set its goal to operate in 50 countries and secure sales worth US$5bil within the next one decade. “I believe this target is achievable, given the increasing worldwide awareness on the importance of natural nutrition and health supplements,” he added.
The Shaklee brand represents one of the most well established names in the nutritional supplement and direct selling industries.
The group is also one of the leading providers of premium quality, natural nutrition and personal care products, environmentally friendly household products, and state-of-the-art air and water treatment systems.
According to Barnett, Shaklee has built a solid position in the US since its establishment in 1959. He added that the group’s expansion into five marketing countries has generated over 750,000 distributors worldwide.
To maintain its leading natural nutrition group status, Shaklee has also spent about US$250mil in research and development over the years in both its existing and new innovative product lines.
Grant PaceShaklee International Inc president Grant Pace, meanwhile, admits that Shaklee was slightly behind in terms of international expansion compared with competitors such as Amway, Herbalife and Avon, which are well represented in 40 to 50 countries.
Prior to Roger Barnett’s acquisition of Shaklee in 2004, he said the group was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, which was one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Japan for 15 years.
“Yamanouchi’s real interest in acquiring Shaklee in 1989 was to get a foothold in the US pharmaceutical market and not for global expansion,” he added.
On its 11-year-old Shaklee Malaysia unit, Pace said: “It was like a forgotten flower previously but is now one of the fastest growing markets for Shaklee worldwide.”
To date, there are about 100,000 Shaklee distributors in Malaysia. The Malaysian unit is the third largest contributor to the Shaklee group after the US and Japan.
“We are in the process of getting halal certification for all our products in Malaysia and we hope to achieve this within the next 17 months,” he added.
Pace said Shaklee’s venture into Taiwan, Hong Kong and China would generate new opportunities for Shaklee Malaysia distributors to expand their sales network.
Shaklee Corp headquarters in Pleasanton, California“Unknown to many, Malaysia has one of the largest Chinese populations and 50% of Shaklee Malaysia’s distributors are Chinese.
“We believe our Taiwanese distributors can be recruited in Malaysia and vice-versa to take full advantage of the strong Chinese markets,” he said.
He said Malaysian distributors would benefit most from Shaklee’s expansion into Asia’s major Chinese markets as they were more exposed to the network marketing business models.
“We are waiting for the direct-selling licence approval from China. Just imagine the business opportunities for Malaysian distributors once the highly populated China market is opened to the Shaklee group,” he added.
The anniversary celebration also saw the launching of Shaklee’s two new products – non-toxic biodegradable household cleaner Get Clean and weight management product Cinch.