Tiens Group

Last updated

Tiens Group
Type Private
Industry Multi-level marketing
Founded1995;26 years ago (1995)
Founder Li Jinyuan
Key people
Products Dietary supplements
Subsidiaries Tianjin Tianshi Biological Development Co., Ltd. Tiens Yihai Co. Ltd.
Website www.tiens.com

Tiens Group ( /ˈtɛns/ , from Chinese :天狮; pinyin :Tiānshī; lit. 'heavenly lion') is a Chinese multinational conglomerate and multi-level marketing company headquartered in Tianjin, China. [1]



Tiens Group was founded in 1995 by Li Jinyuan. Tiens entered the international market in 1997. [2] The company's initial product offerings included traditional Chinese medicinal products, calcium tablets, and instant coffee. In 2008, they reported having 12 million MLM distributors worldwide, including more than 40,000 in Germany, [3] and 40 million customers, [4] mostly in Russia, with approximately 60,000 in Germany. [5] In 2014 they reported having 200,000 distributors in Uganda. [6]

In May 2015, the company sent 6,400 employees on a four-day tour of France. While in Nice, they set a Guinness World Record for the longest "human-made phrase". [7]


United States

The FDA has an advisory letter [8] warning them that their claim of treating or preventing "asthma, cancer, rheumatism, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, myocardial infarction, stroke, sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., herpes), cerebral embolism, and dementia" violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA still lists Tiens products among "Products Illegally Marketed for Serious Diseases". [9]


Tiens has been the subject of controversy in Bangladesh, where the company is known as Tianshi (Bengali : তিয়ানশি). According to local news reports, many people in Bangladesh who invested in Tianshi lost their money, and they claimed that the products were ineffective and priced 4 to 20 times higher than comparable products from well known retailers. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] In 2015, the Government of Bangladesh banned all types of domestic and foreign MLM trade including Tiens in Bangladesh. [17] Between the years 2017–18, the company, having embezzled hundreds of crores taka from consumers, secretly left the country. [18]


In Uganda the "food supplements" are being touted a cures for everything from cancer and HIV to hernias, tumors or appendicitis. [6] The Guardian article goes on to mention that it is a Pyramid Scheme, where most of the money is generated from joining fees of new recruits.


Jamia Darul Uloom, Karachi, a seminary headed by the Grand Mufti of Pakistan, issued a Fatwa in Nov 2008 to the effect that the marketing scheme of Tiens is not permissible. [19] On 3 Nov 2011, another fatwa was issued about a fake fatwa that was circulating without signatures or stamps, claiming that Jamia Darul Uloom has retracted its previous reservations, and now considers it permissible. The fatwa stated that this is a fake, and the original fatwa has not been altered. M. Mahmood suggested that perhaps the original fatwa was based on a misunderstanding of the economic workings of Tiens, and provided more detailed information about how the multi-level marketing scheme works. He asked for a review of the original fatwa, and on 28 Nov 2011, a fatwa further reconfirmed that the new facts presented do not substantially change the original decision.

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