QNET’s business model: Amazing truths discovered through an African journalist’s trip to Malaysia

When I joined my current local news team in Ghana and got to know QNET, the first article I saw was the company trying to correct a misrepresentation of their brand. Some people have been accused of accepting funds from others with promises to help them travel outside of Africa.

I became interested in the brand and did a little desktop research to learn more about the company. The more I researched, the more I realized that the 24-year-old company has good intentions and an interesting business model, but the actions of some people, who may or may not fully understand the brand’s business field, lead to some misunderstandings about the company.

I made a journey from Ghana to the company’s office in Malaysia and in this article you will discover some of the truths I have taken the time to explore.

One of the first observations I made when reading a bit much about QNET was the fact that in this part of the world (Africa) many people do not understand the concept of direct selling and unfortunately often do not know how to get around it by pyramid schemes, distinguish between multi-level marketing and the like. So, for the avoidance of doubt, let’s make something clear about what direct selling is.

Direct sales simplified

According to the World Federation of Direct Selling Association (WFDSA), based in Washington DC in the United States: “Direct selling is a retail channel used by top global brands and smaller, entrepreneurial companies to market products and services to consumers . Companies market all types of goods and services, including watches and jewelry, vacations, wellness, home and living, education, health, personal care and technology.”

Simply put, direct selling is a type of marketing where the company or manufacturer sells their products directly to consumers without building or renting stores, supermarkets, malls or similar. These products are not on the shelves of a store, they are delivered directly from the manufacturer to the consumer’s home, online or otherwise. This is an acceptable form of marketing and has been around for hundreds of years.

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According to statista.com, more than seven and a half million people work in direct selling in America alone, and the global industry is valued at $186 billion, with more prospects than many people realize. The WFDSA has members around the world on virtually every continent.

Companies and direct sales organizations from England, Germany, Malaysia, Philippines, Turkey, Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, South Africa, Singapore, Portugal, Norway, Peru, Panama, Romania, New Zealand, Mexico, Netherlands, Italy, Korea, Japan, Israel, India, Indonesia, Finland, France, Brazil, Australia, Canada to name a few are key members of the World Federation of Direct Selling Association. It’s safe to say that direct selling is a global business.

Direct sales in Africa

What struck me in Ghana and across Africa is that the direct selling industry is not as formalized and organized as it is in Asia, America and Europe.

Although Africa, with our growing population and burgeoning taste for lifestyle and beauty products, represents the new frontier for the multi-billion dollar direct selling industry, we have yet to fully grasp its full potential. I felt that Africans’ stories and experiences of Ponzi schemes clouded their understanding, realization or appreciation of the direct selling industry.

In many parts of Africa, people can tell tales of how get-rich-quick and monetary systems that existed for a short period of time, usually less than a year or two, have wreaked havoc on their finances. The unfortunate part is that they tend to lump many direct selling companies in the same basket.

Experience QNET in Malaysia

I had a tour of QNET’s Kuala Lumpur office in Malaysia. I saw firsthand the towering building that houses the day-to-day operations. I viewed some of the products and had interactions with key company executives as they explained details, product features and key truths about QNET’s business model.

It was on Penang Island that I had the unique opportunity to witness and attend the company’s annual global conference, V-Malaysia 2022. I found myself in the same arena as more than 15,000 independent representatives (IRs) and officers of the company.

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It was electrifying and a sight to behold. I listened to seminars and presentations from many of the company’s leaders, including its founders, and visited the exhibit booths where I saw, touched, felt and experienced QNET’s broad range of products. I saw IRs from different corners of the world sharing their experiences and the successes they’ve had, both in small and big leaps.

Demystifying the misconception about QNET

The first realization I had during my five day stay was that unlike Ponzi or get-rich-quick schemes, which typically last a short time and disappear, QNET has actually been around for 24 years and is only going from strength to strength.

I learned that QNET is one of Asia’s leading e-commerce based direct selling companies offering a wide range of health, wellness and lifestyle products that empower people to lead better lives. I realized that QNET empowers millions of entrepreneurs and young people in more than 100 countries worldwide.

I also learned that QNET is headquartered in Hong Kong and has a presence in more than 25 countries around the world through subsidiaries, branches, agency partnerships and franchisees.

I realized that QNET adheres to international best practices and that it is a member of the Direct Selling Association in several countries, and is also part of the Hong Kong Health Food Association and the Health Supplements Industry Association of Singapore, among others.

I realized that QNET is law abiding and very socially responsible. I visited the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, RYTHM Foundation (Raise Yourself to Help Mankind) at V-MALAYSIA 2022.

I saw images and evidence of the wealth of life-changing interventions and projects the company is implementing around the world, including Africa. QNET is also active in sports sponsorship around the world. Some of the more prominent partnerships are CAF’s direct sales partner of Manchester City Football Club and the African Club League Championships.

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QNET’s fight against fraud and misrepresentation

According to Biram Fall, QNET’s Regional Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa: “QNET is making desperate efforts to ensure its reputation is not tarnished. We continue to implement measures to help the public and our stakeholders understand our business model and the fact that we are not a get-rich-quick or Ponzi scheme, we are not a travel agent, we do not condone illegal gatherings, migration or unethical behavior marketing practices. People can do business with QNET from the comfort of their own home through www.qnet.net.”

“We are aware that some people are using QNET’s name for unethical marketing practices. We are working with some government agencies in the markets where we operate to identify and take action against these individuals and their negative activities.

If an Independent Representative is found to be at fault in an unethical marketing case, they will be penalized or removed from the Company. And in some cases they are handed over to law enforcement agencies for the law to do its thing.”

On my desk as a journalist I see many releases and press releases from the company trying to educate the general public about its business model and the direct selling market as a whole. The company recently launched a 360-degree marketing initiative called the MAMA Campaign. The campaign aims to help people distinguish between QNET deals and the actions of fraudulent individuals.

In conclusion, I am convinced that given the current economic situation in the world and especially in Africa, many people need multiple streams of income to stay afloat.

Direct selling provides a wonderful opportunity for anyone to buy products, use them, or recommend them to others and earn a commission on the purchases they make. Many people have changed their lives for the better simply by embracing the opportunities that QNET and the direct selling industry offers.


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