What’s one of the biggest, most infamous, or most successful companies you can think of out of China?
If you’re an investor or an older American, say, over the age of 35, chances are you’d think of Alibaba (BABAF) – Get Free Report, Tencent (TCTZF) – Get Free Report, Luckin Coffee (LK) – Get Free Report, or JD.com (JD) – Get Free Report.
If you’re a member of Gen Z or even a younger millennial, however, you’d probably think of Shein.
Shein has taken younger generations by storm in something of a global takeover. The discount fast fashion retailer is somewhere between a Forever 21, ASOS and Uniqlo, quickly churning out its version of the latest high street trends seen on social media — often at a fraction of the cost.
“It’s one of only a few places that offer a large variety of inexpensive and trendy plus sized clothes,” one Reddit user explained on the r/FemaleFashionAdvice subreddit.
“I just bought my first order from shein, and I’m very happy. Quality is comparable to what you would find anywhere else. Yes, sizing can be hit or miss, but what clothes aren’t? The only difference is you can’t try before you buy like a typical store. Im really happy I found them,” one wrote.
Others explained that for plus-sized shoppers or even folks who want in-the-moment fashion, Shein reigns supreme.
“Shein releases hundreds of designs daily whereas the other brands would be every month,” one wrote.
“Especially if you’re getting a trendy or quirky piece that you’re not going to wear very often,” one explained.
“I already commented but there’s a huge market gap for plus sized women that Shein fills,” another wrote.
Ontario, CA – October 19: Shoppers Ashley Sanchez, right, of Fontana, and Joscelin Flores are among the first group of shoppers taking the opportunity to shop on the opening day of fast fashion e-commerce giant Shein, which is hosting a brick-and-mortar pop up inside Forever 21 at the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Of course, there are other detractors from the brand who claim it uses unethical practices and cuts corners in order to deliver fast, cheap fashion.
“About the ethical part I would agree that it’s hard to find something ethical, but if we rank brands based on their ethicality this SHEIN would be somewhere in the bottom cause it checks all the unethical boxes!” one Redditor wrote.
But much like TikTok, the Singapore-based company has grown — and fostered something of an addiction among younger demos. It’s got over 10,000 employees and even a U.S. office based in Los Angeles. And, based on its sales, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon.
Shein close to major financial move
Shein has made no secret that it plans to go public at some point, with initial rumors stemming from over a year ago. But the billion company is now closer than ever, reportedly filing for an IPO surreptitiously whereby it may go public in the U.S. — though when and where remains to be seen.
If the move goes through, it would be one of the largest IPOs in the U.S. for years. It would also come years after fellow Chinese company and former investor darling Luckin Coffee went public on the NASDAQ in 2019. The coffee chain was subsequently delisted following an accounting scandal whereby it overstated its 2019 revenue by over $300 million.
The Wall Street Journal reports Shein has hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley as underwriters and is targeting sometime in 2024 for the deal.
If and when it does go public, it’s likely to fetch an even higher valuation than the $66 billion it was estimated at in May 2023.
Shein has declined to comment on the matter.
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