In the next four years, India will emerge as the largest market for US-based Herbalife, the $ 2.7-billion global nutrition and direct-selling company, according to its managing director (Asia-Pacific) William M Rahn.
Rahn told Business Standard that India currently occupied the second position, next to Korea in Asia Pacific region. “In the next three years, it will occupy the number one position in the region and in a span of four years the top position in the world,” he said.
Currently, the US contributes maximum revenues to the company. Last year, the net sales of Herbalife in North America stood at $ 614 million.
India is expected to surpass teh US as Herbalife’s business in the country is stated to be growing at over 100 a year for the past three years. Now, the global nutrition giant wants to set up a manufacturing unit in India and is in talks with various state governments in this regard.
“We will probably take a decision very soon and be able to make an announcement this year,” Rahn said.
Rahn, however, said that the company had not yet finalised whether to go in for a joint venture or to set up the plant on its own. “We are exploring all possibilities,” he said.
Rahn said that there was a likelihood of the proposed plant catering to the needs of other countries in the Asia-Pacific region if the trade agreements between India and these countries and quality of the products were found to be suitable.
Herbalife country head, Ajay Khanna, said that the company was introducing products that were specifically suitable to India. These included “Afresh”, an energy drink mix in ginger and Elaichi.
Of late, he said that the company was foraying into Tier-II cities and touched 67 such places in the country last year. It was planning to touch 100 tier II cities this year.
At present, the direct-selling company has a network of 180,000 distributors (those who sell its products) across India. The number of distributors was expected to cross 500,000 in the coming years.