Shein: China’s Mysterious $15 Billion Fast Fashion Retailer

Based in Nanjing, China, Shein is an international fast fashion e-commerce retailer which focuses on selling women’s wear at rock-bottom prices. Since it was founded in 2008 the company has exhibited meteoric growth seizing over a quarter of the US fast-fashion market and has set up an impressive shipping network from scratch which now enables it to send goods to 220 countries worldwide.

However, despite such a rapid rise, there is little public information about Shein or its enigmatic founder, Chris Xu. The private company doesn’t even disclose any financial results, but its sales are thought to have soared during the pandemic with consumers turning more towards online shopping. Data provider CB Insights has estimated that Shein’s revenues topped 63.5bn yuan (£7.4bn) in 2020 but there is currently no way of confirming these figures.

Shein’s veil of secrecy has fuelled allegations that the company relies on modern slavery to maintain its ultra-low retail prices. During my research I came across an online article by Reuters on this topic which makes interesting reading and can be found at: https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/exclusive-chinese-retailer-shein-lacks-disclosures-made-false-statements-about-2021-08-06/ .

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