Shein, the Chinese fast fashion juggernaut, is aiming to achieve a massive $80-90 billion valuation in its eventual US stock market debut according to sources familiar with the company’s IPO plans.
The online fashion retailer has quickly become one of the largest in the world on the back of its ultra-fast production cycles and rock bottom pricing. Shein boasts a selection of over 5,000 fashion items with over 1,000 new products added daily. This rapid launch cadence along with AI-driven fashion designs and targeted social media marketing have supercharged Shein’s popularity among Gen Z consumers.
Shein’s meteoric rise has made it one of the most valuable private companies in the world. The company hit a $100 billion valuation in its last funding round in 2021. However, subsequent secondary market trades of Shein shares revealed erosion in its value, with estimates between $50-60 billion earlier this year.
The firm is looking to capitalize on the growth in online shopping with its planned US stock exchange listing. Shein is aiming to raise around $2 billion from public market investors as it continues its quest for global fashion industry dominance.
Shein has not officially confirmed its IPO plans yet, but is said to be targeting the second half of 2023 for its market debut. The timing remains in flux given the recent stock market volatility and economic uncertainty.
Unlike most ecommerce firms, Shein has claimed profitability since its inception. The company boasts strong margins partly derived from minimal advertising spend. Shein instead relies extensively on social media influencers and word-of-mouth among its primarily Gen Z fanbase.
The Chinese company does not disclose its financials publicly, but reportedly generated over $16 billion in sales in 2021. It has also expanded aggressively in Europe, the US and other international markets. Shein’s app was the second most downloaded shopping app globally on iOS last year after Amazon.
However, Shein faces controversies around alleged labor rights violations, plagiarized designs, and environmental concerns related to its fast fashion model. Critics also argue the opacity around its operations and finances warrant closer regulatory scrutiny especially as it plans to go public.
Shein’s US IPO will be a key test of investor appetite for cash-burning technology unicorns in the current market. Chinese companies listing in the US also face tighter regulations now. A number of them have opted instead for Hong Kong and domestic China exchanges more recently.
Nonetheless, the online fashion giant has its sights set firmly on tapping into public markets to fuel its next wave of worldwide expansion. Shein aims to leverage its digital-first model and supply chain agility to continue eating market share from struggling traditional retailers.
If Shein manages to pull off a $90 billion IPO, it would rank as one of the largest US listings ever for a foreign company. The blockbuster offering could set the stage for Shein to disrupt the global fashion hierarchy dominated by H&M, Zara and other legacy incumbents.