Chinese fast fashion giant, SHEIN, has reportedly filed to go public in the United States (US) with a long-rumoured Initial Public Offering (IPO). This comes as the company seeks to expand its global reach.
According to a report by CNBC citing people familiar with the matter, the retailer was last valued at US$66 billion, and could be ready to start trading publicly by 2024.
A Reuters report also stated that SHEIN is expected to become the most valuable China-founded company to go public in the US, after transport company, Didi Global, went public in 2021 at US$68 billion.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley have been appointed lead underwriters on the offering, according to Reuters.
According to a Business of Fashion report, the decision to go public in the US comes as the market for initial public offerings is struggling to rebound after a string of lacklustre stock market debuts. Recent months reportedly saw four major IPOs, three of which disappointed investors.
U.S. IPOs have reportedly raised about US$23.64 billion so far in 2023, compared to US$21.3 billion during the same period last year, it said.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to SHEIN for comment.
Over the past few years, SHEIN has seen rapid growth internationally with its low prices and endless supply of new designs. However, the company has also been accused of intellectual property theft from independent designers, violating labour laws, and causing harm to the environment. For example, in July this year, Swedish retailer H&M sued the brand in Hong Kong for copyright infringement, according to court documents filed in Hong Kong.
H&M accused SHEIN of plagiarism and “stealing” the designs of its products, including swimwear and sweaters, according to the lawsuit that has reportedly been underway since July 2021.
H&M stated in a court filing that there is “striking resemblance between the products showing they must have been copied” and the “sheer scale of (SHEIN’s) unauthorised substantial reproduction of the copyright works”.
The Swedish company sought compensations to unspecified damages and an injunction to prohibit SHEIN from infringing on its copyright and trademarks, according to Bloomberg.
This follows news of SHEIN’s partnership with retail company, SPARC Group, to sell Forever 21’s clothing and accessories on the SHEIN platform in August 2023. The joint venture also included Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group.
As part of the deal, SHEIN stood to acquire a one-third interest in SPARC, with SPARC becoming a minority shareholder in Shein.
A statement by SHEIN said that together with SPARC Group, it plans to utilise its complementary platforms and expertise to accelerate product innovation, explore new business strategies, enhance customer experiences, and grow its presence in the marketplace.
The move proved to be a strategic one, particularly in Singapore, where only 4% of the general population indicated that they would consider buying from Forever 21, according to a YouGov survey. This figure was compared to the 12% of SHEIN customers islandwide.
The survey also revealed that the trend of SHEIN customers being more likely to purchase from Forever 21 was also observed in the Philippines and the US.
The biggest conference is back! Experience the future of marketing with 500+ brilliant minds at Digital Marketing Asia on 28 - 30 November in Singapore. Uncover groundbreaking strategies that connect leading brands with their target audiences effectively.
SHEIN to sell items from Forever 21 in new SPARC Group partnership
H&M sues SHEIN for copyright infringement: Can legal action discourage 'copycats'?
SHEIN invests US$85mn to empower communities globally
Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.
We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.subscribe now open in new window