Coway: A South-Korean-Based Purifying Powerhouse


Coway is a highly successful international company producing air purifiers, water purifiers, and bidets.

The company is based in South Korea. It functions much like most conventional companies, although it has a seemingly less developed multi-level marketing component.

Read on to find out how it operates.

Insights

Coway is a South Korea-based company that produces air purifiers, water purifiers, and bidets.

Coway has sold over 15 million air purifiers globally since 1994 and operates in more than 60 countries.

The company markets its products through various channels, including e-commerce, partnerships with Amazon, influencer marketing, and direct sales through independent sales representatives called Health Planners.

The company has faced lawsuits over defective water purifiers, but has also received positive reviews for its air purifiers.


Section 1 – The Company

This first section focuses on Coway’s operations as a company. We analyze the company’s history, market performance, and other relevant data.


What is Coway?

Coway Co., Ltd. (formerly known as Woongjin Coway Co., Ltd.) is a South Korea-based global company offering home health solutions such as air purifiers, water filtration devices, bidets, and various other home appliances.

The company’s focus on water purification technology has propelled it to become one of the largest water purifier companies in South Korea, and an important MLM company globally.

Market Performance

The company has shown promising market performance over the years. It boasts of 15,000,000+ global air purifier sales since 1994 with operations in 60+ countries as of 2021 and 6,658 employees as of 2021.

Sales in 2022 indicated steady growth in South Korea, Asia, and the United States. Notably, South Korean sales reached KRW 2,454,250.00 million, constituting 63.6% of Coway’s total sales. Asia experienced substantial growth, with sales climbing by 14.53% from 2021 to 2022 to KRW 1,197,370.00 million, accounting for 31.1% of the company’s revenue.

The United States also demonstrated an impressive surge, with a sales increase of 17.77% to reach KRW 199,768.00 million, comprising 5.2% of total sales.

Malaysia and Thailand emerged as key growth-driving subsidiaries. The company states that, in 2021, it maintained its position as the number one water purifier brand in Malaysia, boasting over 2 million active customer accounts. Coway’s air purifiers command a market share of 41% in the country.

Coway financial results 2019-2020 (Graphic)Pin

History

Coway’s founder is Yoon Seok-keum. The company was founded in 1989, starting as a water purifier business. They later launched the air purifier business in 1993.

From 2001 to 2010, Coway expanded their R&D center to Seoul National University, opened their Design Institution, built their second manufacturing plant, opened the EU center for logistics, and set up subsidiary offices in China, the US, Malaysia, and Thailand. Throughout the 2000s, they expanded to the Cosmetics and Home Care Businesses. 

Between 2011 and 2020, the company sold over 10 million air purifiers, and the total revenues reached nearly 3 billion USD. In July 2017, the company forged a partnership with Amazon to develop a premium water purifier equipped with artificial intelligence technology.

Coway revealed plans to acquire IoBED, a mattress company, in February 2021. And in November 2022, the company announced the construction of a new solar power plant in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, demonstrating its commitment to sustainable energy solutions.

Coway LogoPin

Coway’s Top Executives?

Mr. Jang-Won Seo is the current Chief Executive Officer and Director.

Other top executives include:

  1. Senior MD and Head-Environment Technology Research: Sun-Yong Lee
  2. Managing Director and Head-Distribution Sales: Gyeong-Joo Son
  3. Senior MD and Head-Production Operations: In-Soo Rha
  4. Compliance Officer: Seung-Hyuk Choi
  5. Managing Director: Joon-Ho Jung
  6. Managing Director and Head-Cosmetic Marketing: So-Young Koh

Regarding the board of directors, here are the members of the board:

  1. Independent Directors: Jin-Bae Kim, Dr., Gil-Yeon Lee, Boo-Hyun Yoon, Da-Woo Lee, and Kyu-Ho Kim.
  2. Director & Head-Business Management: Ji-Yong Ahn
  3. Non-Executive Director: Jin-Ho Chai
  4. Director: Jun-Hyuk Bang
  5. Chief Executive Officer and Director: Jang-Won Seo

Who is the owner of Coway?

Coway is listed on the Korea Exchange and has been a subsidiary of Netmarble since 2019.

Among the company’s major shareholders, Netmarble Corporation, a South Korean mobile game company, holds the largest stake.

Here is an overview of the top shareholders:

ShareholderShare
Netmarble Corporation25.10%
National Pension Service of Korea6.46%
Impax Asset Management Ltd.4.75%
BlackRock Fund Advisors2.23%
The Vanguard Group, Inc.2.06%
Amundi Asset Management SA (Investment Management)2.02%
Pictet Asset Management SA1.94%
Fidelity Management & Research Co. LLC1.85%
COWAY Co., Ltd.1.67%
Robeco Institutional Asset Management BV1.57%

Coway’s Headquarters

Coway has an international network across 5 continents with regional headquarters in the US, Japan, Europe, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The global headquarters is located in Korea at G-Tower, 38, Digital-ro 26-gil, Guro-gu, Seoul.

The North American headquarters is located at 4221 Wilshire Blvd #210, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA.


Section 2 – Business Model

This second section evaluates Coway’s business model. We analyze how the company markets its products and the proposed opportunity for independent sales representatives.


How Coway markets its products and services

Coway markets its products through a variety of strategies, including:

  • using their website for e-commerce sales
  • partnership with and product listing on Amazon
  • influencer marketing (the company named BTS, the popular K-pop boy band, as its global brand ambassador
  • direct sales and multilevel marketing through independent sales representatives called Health Planners

In Europe, the company is focused on selling its products through local retail channels and online shopping malls, rather than offering rental services.

The Number of Coway Health Planners

On the Coway HP (Coway Health Planner) website, the company indicates that they employ 200 people in 5 US offices, primarily in LA and NY.

An article on Mom & I stated that the company had about 100 Health Planners active in New York and New Jersey, with 300 others across the United States.

How to make money on Coway

Based on the Malaysia Health Planner’s Agreement, Health Planners have a range of earning opportunities including:

  • Personal and downline sales commissions
  • Neo Pro HP Performance Incentive (PI): for Neo Pro HP’s with 3+ unit sales, getting RM 300 to RM 1,500 (USD 64.61 – 323.07)
  • Neo Pro HP Performance Allowances (PA): for Neo Pro HP’s with 3+ unit sales, getting RM 500 to RM 1,000 (USD 107.69 – 215.38)
  • Health Planner (HP) Weekly Sales (WS) Awards: awards for Neo Pro HP’s ranging from trophies to RM 2,000 (USD 430.76)
  • Health Planner (HP) WN Awards: for Neo Pro HPs sponsoring 2 or more Neo Pro’s monthly
  • Health Planner (HP) Periodical Awards: awards cash prizes ranging from RM 500 to RM 5,000 (USD 107.69 – 1,076.89), trophies, and certificates
  • Rookie Awards

Coway’s Compensation Model Explained

Health Planners can progress through Coway’s compensation plan under two main categories:

  • Part-Time
  • Full Time (Neo Pro HP): attends morning meetings 3 days per week, and attends events & training sessions

Here are the incentives for each category:

Health Planner (HP) Level - CowayPin

The detailed ranking system provides the following four levels for Neo Pro HP’s:

  • Health Planner (HP):

HP’s have submitted an application, attended training, and bought one set of Coway’s HP Starter Kit for RM 120 (USD 25.81).

  • Health Manager (HM):

HM’s have 6 downline Neo Pro’s with 5 net sales each and 40 unit net sales in a month.

  • Senior Sales Manager (SM):

SM’s either have 60 Group net sales per month in 6 months, 500 net sales in 6 months, or 300 Direct Group Sales per month for 3 months. They also have 3 active Health Planner Managers in 1 month and pass the Qualification Test.

To remain active, they need 40 units of net sales per month.

  • Sales General Manager (GM):

GM’s either have 250 Group net sales per month for 6 months, 2,000 net sales in 6 months, or 800 Direct Group Sales per month for 3 months. They also have 3 active Sales Managers for 1 month, and pass the Qualification Test.

To remain active, GM’s need 150 units of sales per month.

And here are the incentives for each level:

Overview of Marketing Scheme - CowayPin

The commission structure features various options, including:

  • Service Package Commission:

This applies to outright service packages, calculated as a subscription fee x 10%.

  • Health Planner (HP) Sales Commission:

This is based on your total PV for outright purchases (Out), installment payments (Ins), or rental.

Health Planner (HP) Sales Commission - CowayPin
  • Health Planner (HP) Bonus Commission:

This is based on your total PV for outright purchases, installment payments, or rentals.

Health Planner (HP) Bonus Commission - CowayPin
  • Health Planner (HP) Team Building Benefit (TBB):

Here, you earn 2% of the net sales of your directly sponsored downline.

How much money can you make with Coway?

An article on Mom & I stated that active health planners in the US made an average income of USD 2,000 to 3,000. Those who perform better receive as much as USD 10,000 to 20,000.

If you are a distributor in Malaysia, this is what you are likely to make according to the website Coway Expert:

  • Amateur: RM 2,000 – 5,000 (USD 429.97 – 1,074.92)
  • Advance: RM 6,000 – 7,500 (USD 1,289.91 – 1,612.38)
  • Expert: RM 8,000 – 15,000 (USD 1,719.88 – 3,224.77)

Section 3 – Products

This section evaluates Coway’s range of products. We explore their unique offering and give an overall picture of how the products are made and sold.


What does Coway sell?

Coway Co., Ltd. has established itself as a leading manufacturer and seller of water purifiers and air purifiers, as well as bidets.

The most popular products include:

  • Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Air Purifier
  • Coway Airmega 400 Air Purifier
  • Coway Airmega 250 Air Purifier
  • Coway Bidetmega 400 Bidet
  • Coway Aquamega 200C Water Purifier
Air purifier Airmega 400 CowayPin
Air purifier Airmega 400 Coway
Water purifier Aquamega 100 CowayPin
Air purifier Airmega 400 Coway
Bidet BidetMega 400 CowayPin
Air purifier Airmega 400 Coway

What is unique about Coway products?

Coway’s water purifiers utilize advanced filtration technologies to rid tap water of impurities and contaminants. Incorporating multi-stage filtration processes, these systems employ sediment filters, activated carbon filters, and reverse osmosis membranes.

Some models even offer additional features, such as temperature control and convenient water dispensing options, to cater to diverse needs.

The air purifiers employ pre-filters, activated carbon filters, and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The pre-filter captures larger particles, while the activated carbon filter reduces odors and eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Eventually, the HEPA filter traps microscopic particles, including pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and certain viruses.

Furthermore, Coway air purifiers may integrate features such as air quality sensors, adjustable fan speeds, and timer settings, offering an optimal user experience.

In addition to their functionality, Coway products boast aesthetically pleasing designs. Recognized for their modern and sleek appearances, these devices seamlessly blend into various home or office environments, adding a touch of elegance.

Where are Coway’s products made?

The company has multiple laboratories, and factory locations as listed below:

  • Environmental Technology Institute, located at the Seoul National Univ. Research Park
  • Cosmetics Laboratory, located in Geumcheon-gu
  • Yugu Factory, located in Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do
  • Incheon Factory, located in Namdong-gu
  • Pocheon Factory

How to buy Coway products

Through leasing, customers can gain access to Coway’s high-end products in a subscription-based/ rental model, wherein customers pay a monthly fee for their home appliances and services. Customers can also pay for the items in installments or make a full purchase.

The company has a membership program that provides maintenance services too.


Section 4 – Doubts and Misconceptions about Coway

In this section, we analyze various controversies and evaluate independent reviews of the company. This is aimed at giving a comprehensive understanding of Coway.


Lawsuits against Coway

In 2016, nearly 300 people filed a class-action lawsuit against Coway over its defective water purifiers, demanding some 740 million won ($655,000) in compensation.

This was regarding three nickel-contaminated water purifier models: CHPCI-430N, CHPI-380N (CPI-380N), and CPSI-370N. Earlier, Coway had issued a recall and apologized, offering to compensate all affected buyers and take full responsibility for related health issues.

In 2020, the Seoul High Court ordered Coway to compensate the 227 customers with 1 million won ($806) each. The court ruled that the company didn’t notify customers properly about the defect in its product. However, the court found that there was insufficient evidence proving the water purifiers had leached nickel into the water.

In 2022, Coway won an appeal against a 2015 patent infringement court ruling, which ordered the company to pay a smaller competitor Chungho 10 billion won.

Chungho claimed that Coway had infringed its patented ice water purifying technology in 2014. The court acknowledged that cooled water is a main part of Chungho’s ice-making water purifier, unlike Coway products that make ice with lukewarm water.

Independent reviews of Coway

The Coway AP-1512HH Mighty air purifier has been Wirecutter’s top pick since 2015. Their review found that it’s effective at capturing dust, pollen, smoke, and various airborne viruses and/ or bacteria. It was pitted against more than 50 competitors in rigorous testing

Also, the Coway Airmega 200M True HEPA Air Purifier has received an 83% 5-star positive review from 22,147 global ratings by customers on Amazon.com, giving it a 4.7 rating out of 5 stars.

The Coway Airmega Icon air purifier was reviewed positively by Reviewed – USA Today too. It is considered effective at cleaning both VOCs and particles and being quiet.

However, Coway USA, Inc. has received some complaints from customers on the Better Business Bureau website, which the company has responded to and sought to resolve directly with the customers.

Coway product testing and certification

Coway’s water purifier, CHP-264L, has earned the NSF-JWPA P508 Certification. To earn it, products undergo rigorous testing for the safety of materials in contact with drinking water and contaminant reduction.

Additionally, the Coway Airmega – AP-1518R is ENERGY STAR Certified.

Even Coway’s R&D Center has recently become a CSA-qualified witness laboratory in 2023. This certification allows Coway to test new products within its own R&D Center.

Furthermore, Coway’s air purifiers have undergone harmful gas removal testing based on the CA Certification by Korea Air Cleaning.

So far, the company states that they earned 458 Major Design Awards from 2006 to 2021.


Section 5 – FAQs And Recap

In conclusion, we summarize some key concepts by answering frequently asked questions about Coway


What does Coway company do?

Coway is a South Korean multi-level marketing organization and an air purifying system maker. Air cleaners, air purifiers, air purifying machines, air purifying machine reviews, and air purifier filters are among their air purification machines.

Is Coway an Indian brand?

No, Coway is a South Korean company with its headquarters in Seoul. Coway Malaysia is a subsidiary of Coway that is primarily responsible for distributing the company’s products in Malaysia.

What kind of company is Coway?

Coway is a South Korean company that based its sales model on multilevel marketing.

What are Coway’s strengths?

Coway has a strong competitive advantage because they accompany their high-tech products by using innovative and modern technologies. These technologies play an important role in the sales of these products and the global company’s vision.

Where are Coway air purifiers manufactured?

Coway’s air purifiers are mainly produced in South Korea, where the company has multiple laboratories.

Is Coway water safe?

Coway water purifiers have been awarded the Water Quality Association’s Gold Seal, ensuring product integrity.


Sources

Credits (Images)

Author: Victor Nyorani

Victor Nyorani - Network Marketing Start

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