Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein is reportedly eyeing a funding round at a valuation of some $100bn.
The Gen Z e-commerce giant is in talks with potential investors to raise around $1bn, according to a report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
Bosses are still mulling over the plans, with potential for details to change, including the size of the fundraising and valuation.
Shein’s ambitions for a New York listing were put on hold due to volatile capital markets after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters news agency reported last month.
The retailer’s founder had been looking at a citizenship change in order to dodge proposed tougher rules for offshore IPOs in China.
A company spokesperson told Reuters last month that it has no plans for an IPO.
With ultra low prices, Shein has become one of largest online fashion sites since it launched in 2008.
The company was valued at around $50bn in early 2021 after the pandemic accelerated a trend towards buying clothes online.
WHATEVER the secret sauce might be for online fast-fashion retail, Shein seems to have found it. Tight control of inventory and a real heap of products are surely one ingredient, but there is some mystery about what else goes into the Shein recipe. Questions remain about the firm that could well hit its fundraising efforts, not least about the manufacturing process behind the retail powerhouse.
Most retailers now are very clear about where and how their products are made; the scandal around Boohoo’s use of poorly-paid workers in Leicester created a furore the industry couldn’t ignore back in 2020. But Shein buck that trend. The super-secretive firm has been given a score of one out of 100 in a transparency report compiled by campaigners Fashion Revolution earlier this year. Clothes retailers are under particular pressure to be transparent about their supply chains due to the outsized role Xinjiang – home of the viciously repressed Uyghur Muslims – plays in the world’s cotton trade. Back in the summer, City A.M. compiled a lengthy report into Shein’s work practices – at least, those we could understand. They refused to comment, nor could we ascertain who runs their operations in the UK, where their registered address is a small office in an industrial estate in suburban Hampshire. Only after significant pressure last year did the firm meet obligations to publish a modern slavery statement, and even that was not as precise as campaigners would have liked. Shein may shine for investors, but more transparency would help this Chinese giant in its fund-raising efforts. ANDY SILVESTER