Online fashion giant Shein has filed for an initial public offering in New York, in a market debut that could make it the most valuable Chinese company to go public in the US since ride-hailing giant Didi Global.
The retailer, worth more than $60 billion, is under scrutiny from US lawmakers over its labour practices and is pressing on with its IPO plans, despite heightened tensions between the United States and China over trade, sensitive technology, human rights and the future of Taiwan.
Didi Global listed in New York in 2021 at a $68 billion valuation but was delisted a year later amid Beijing’s crackdown on Chinese technology giants over antitrust and data security rules.
Shein has confidentially submitted its IPO registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), sources said, and the stock market debut could come before the end of 2023.
A spokesperson for Shein said by email that the company “denies these rumours”.
Its IPO will be opposed by a bipartisan group of two dozen US representatives, who have asked the SEC to verify the company does not use force labour before allowing it to proceed with a New York listing.
Shein has said it adheres to ethical sourcing standards and has denied allegations that it ships from China’s Xinjiang region, where materials such as cotton are often the product of forced labor by the Uyghurs, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority. The United States bans exports from Xinjiang for this reason.
Shein was valued in excess of $60 billion in a $2 billion private fundraising round in March. General Atlantic, Mubadala, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital China are among its investors.
Shein has been eyeing a US IPO for at least three years, but was deterred by headwinds that included US scrutiny of Chinese accounting practices and bouts of market volatility fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The company’s founder Chris Xu moved the company’s headquarters to Singapore from Nanjing, capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, more than a year ago, a move that helps Shein circumvent China’s tough new rules on overseas listings.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara