(BEIJING) -- Mary Kay, the classic American makeup company, took its pink hats and pink Buicks 7,000 miles to China -- and after 15 years of trial and error, business is booming there. Nearly 20 percent of the company's business now comes from China, said K.K. Chua, president of Mary Kay's Asia Pacific region.
"We're just scratching the surface in China right now considering that China is a country with more than 1.4 billion people," Chua said. "I think in the time to come, we will see the business having a lot more lengths to run."
Mary Kay's success in China meant shifting from their well-known model of paying home visits to setting up "beauty centers." The company also created specific products that appeal to Chinese women.
Mary Kay is one of several big American brands finding their way to Chinese consumers. Another major American brand making big waves in China is McDonald's. The company has spent 20 years working in the country and now opens a new location every other day.
The Gap, an American clothing brand, also just opened a string of stores in Beijing and Shanghai after two years of intense research. The company redesigned some of its trademark jeans to appeal to Chinese consumers, even designing specific clothes for different cities in China.
Because the Chinese do like American brands and American know-how -- everything from U.S. architects to management experts -- there is potential to tap into vast amounts of money and benefits to American stockholders.
The boom in consumption by Chinese consumers could be good for American workers, too. One estimate suggests that a 20 percent rise in Chinese consumption theoretically could lead to an extra $25 billion of American exports, creating more than 200,000 American jobs.
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