SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Nu Skin (NUS) is trading lower today on the heels of what appears to be an investigative story in the People's Daily, the Communist Party's main mouthpiece, suggesting that Nu Skin's China operations are a pyramid scheme. The piece is not on the paper's English language site, but I've confirmed it's legitimacy.
Multi-level marketers are tightly regulated in China, where multi-level marketing as practiced in the U.S. is prohibited.
Here's the piece: If you open it in Google, just hit "translate." It's a crude translation. Crux of the story: The reporter found multiple instances of misleading advertising and marketing business practices.
My favorite passage:
Southwest University of Politics and Law Lecturer Hu Jiang believes that such acts alleged mind control, commonly known as "brainwashing." Through the implementation of brainwashing, team members will gradually change as well as the negative of the original self-awareness and social awareness, values and code of conduct accepted organizers propaganda. In particular, he stressed that as a member of the loss of self-awareness and social awareness, the organizers claimed that the "freedom of choice" is just an excuse to evade legal sanctions.
In response to my query regarding the story, Nu Skin Corporate Communications Director Kara Schneck said:
The article contains inaccuracies and exaggerations that are not representative of our business in China. The publication did not request any information from Nu Skin nor did it attempt to verify any information that it has since reported as fact.
We are dedicated to operating in full compliance with applicable regulations as interpreted and enforced by the government of China. Nu Skin has an 11-year history of doing business in China under these regulations, and the government has regularly reviewed our business activities. Nu Skin has received direct selling licenses to operate in various provinces and municipalities in China. The most recent government licensure in July expanded our direct selling footprint to include 19 of the country's 32 provinces and municipalities.