A company claiming to be Jiangsu Longliqi Bio-Science Co. Ltd, commonly known as Longrich, has attracted the attention of many in South Africa, with some asking if it is a legitimate company or a scam.
Over the past week, South Africa has seen a company known as Longrich trending for two days in a row on Twitter; and the Company has received mixed reviews from social media. While some believe in the company and what it claims to stand for, many have questioned its ethos and operations. On the whole, questions about the company revolve around how the company generates its income and how those seeking to sell its products will make a profit.
A cursory review of the Company’s background using publicly available sources reveals troubling information.
On one of their websites (three websites claim to belong to the company), the company describes itself as follows:
“Longrich Bio-Science Co. Ltd, (Longrich), which is located in the Longrich Bio-Industrial Park, is one of the leading companies that dominates in the production of Health Care, Cosmetic/Skin Care, Household Cleaning, Furniture, Real Estate business and many more products.”
Longrich also claims to be one of the “largest and most advanced centres for research and development of cosmetic and healthcare products in Asia (Southern China).” The company also says it has “more than 12 000 employees, more than 35% of which are Doctorate students, field experts, and highly trained professionals. For the past 31 years the company has seen steady growth in both expansion and market share.”
Although the company may be registered on CIPC – there are at least six Company registrations with various combinations of the word Longrich, though there is no combination with Longrich Bioscience or Longrich Bio-Science.
The first red flag is the lack of complete contact and address details. On what claims to be the Longrich Bioscience international website, which is registered with a Malaysian address, the company offers no email address, no landline contact number and no physical address. When one searches for Longrich South Africa, two websites pop up. On the first website, which was registered by Selby Sekgobela on 13 February 2018, is an email address and a mobile number used for WhatsApp. On the second website, which was registered by Simphiwe Mbeki on 15 October 2017, and is provided on what seems to be the official Longrich South Africa Twitter page, there are no contact details at all. The Twitter page also claims the business has their Head Office in Randburg, Johannesburg but no address is provided.
Information available on the Internet and what appears to be the Longrich South Africa Twitter page, suggests the company is linked to China and operates in a similar manner to companies such as Herbalife and Independent Field Advisor (IFA). As stated above, the company sells a myriad of products, from toothpastes and sanitary towels, all the way through to energy shoes and “alkaline water cups.” The company seemingly has no formal business structure in place; a person interested in joining the company is supposedly paired up with a ‘leader’. The person must then buy stock and sell it, while also recruiting other people to join the business – akin to a pyramid scheme.
In response to the Longrich trend on Twitter, one South African fashion designer, Thula Sindi slammed the Longrich business model as unsustainable. In a tweet, Sindi wrote: “Your MMM/Amway/Longrich toothpaste has NO intrinsic or market value… Nobody has invested in marketing it, Research and development and any actions that give products value in the market. You are buying and selling junk and recruiting others to do the same. Stop it”. To read up on the thread, click here.
Prior to setting up shop in South Africa, Longrich was operating in Botswana, but left a sour taste in many Batswana’s mouths. Mmegi Online, a Botswana publication, reported on a large number of Batswana robbed of millions of Pula through the Longrich business. The report alleges that a lady by the name of Elinah Tai, a Botswana consultant, ran a car promotion where she promised that those who joined Longrich with P20,000 (the equivalent of R26,109) and recruited three people, would automatically win a Hyundai Elantra.
In South Africa, Longrich leaders have been reportedly asking people on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to join the business with R5,000, claiming they would earn guaranteed amounts of up to R50,000 a week. A situation that has prompted many South Africans to ask: If this business is legitimate and makes its profits off the products they sell, then why are there recruitments and joining fees? Why are business seminars exclusively held on WhatsApp?
South Africa is a poverty-stricken country, with six million facing unemployment, and as a result many South Africans often fall victim to scams, pyramid schemes and promises of overnight success and riches. In the past decade, the country has seen the growth and collapse of many scams and pyramid schemes including MMM South Africa, My Life Change 247, and Pipcoin, among many others.