Chinese authorities granted Amway and Mary Kay direct-selling licenses Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a statement posted on the Ministry of Commerce website. Chinese authorities banned the direct-selling business model in 1998, saying they feared the economic and social disruption caused by dozens of failed domestic pyramid schemes that used similar techniques. However, they began relaxing curbs on direct sales last year as part of China's accession agreement with the World Trade Organization. Other direct-sales competitors, including Nu Skin Enterprises and Avon Products, the world's largest direct-sales company by sales, were granted official approval earlier this year. Michigan-based Amway has a 180,000-strong distribution team in China and Texas-based Mary Kay has about 6,000 regional distributors.