May 22, 2023
After raising nearly a billion dollars a year ago, the ultra fast-fashion Chinese giant, Shein, has successfully closed another funding round of $2 billion (€1.85 billion), according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal. The funding was secured from American equity firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, as well as the Emirati holding company Mubadala.
Shein’s valuation, which was estimated at $100 billion a year ago, has since dropped by a third to $66 billion. This decline can be attributed to the overall downturn in tech company valuations, as well as the growing scrutiny on Shein’s social and environmental practices.
The online platform, renowned for its low prices and constantly refreshed products, has come under scrutiny for its manufacturers’ working conditions, including allegations of forced labour of Uyghurs (an ethnic minority), as well as the environmental and health impacts of its operations.
With ambitions to go public on the New York Stock Exchange in the second half of 2023, the company founded by Chris Wu in 2008 reportedly generated $23 billion in revenue last year, according to the American media outlet, with an estimated profit of $800 million.
In order to streamline its international operations, Shein has recently announced the opening of a headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, to oversee the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region. The new office will initially accommodate around 30 employees and will be responsible for managing the company’s website development in these areas. Additionally, Shein has planned to open 30 pop-up stores throughout the EMEA region in 2023.
The e-commerce platform has gained popularity among French consumers and is considered one of the top three websites for online ready-to-wear purchases, alongside Vinted and Zalando, according to Kantar. In early May, Shein organized a temporary store in the trendy Marais district of Paris. The pop-up store attracted long queues of customers, but it also raised concerns from various associations and NGOs. In fact, a petition has been launched in an attempt to “ban Shein in France.”
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