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Shein London IPO Plan Under Fire From UK Lawmakers

Senior UK politicians want more scrutiny of the fashion giant ahead of a possible London listing over alleged labour malpractices and competitor lawsuits

A view of a Shein pop-up store at a mall in Singapore April 4, 2024. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
A view of a Shein pop-up store at a mall in Singapore April 4, 2024. Photo: Reuters


Leading UK lawmakers have voiced their fears over fast-fashion giant Shein’s suitability for a London stock market listing and called for greater scrutiny of the Chinese-founded firm.

Shein is stepping up preparations for a London listing after its attempt to float in New York faced regulatory hurdles and pushback from US lawmakers but is now also facing questions from three UK parliamentary committees.

The firm, known for its $10 tops and $5 biker shorts, faced criticism from US lawmakers over alleged labour malpractices, lawsuits from competitors, and use of an import tax exemption.

British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt held talks with Shein’s Executive Chairman Donald Tang in February and the firm is keen to list in London, a UK government source told Reuters.


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Britain is keen to attract more listings after losing out on some big-name flotations to other financial centres.

However, Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said Shein should not be permitted to list in London.

“With Shein’s prices so low the London Stock Exchange needs to ask itself, whose suffering is subsiding those prices,” she said in comments first reported by The Guardian newspaper.

“A company which has failed to make full disclosures about its supply chains as required by UK law, and where there are grave concerns about its factory working conditions has no place in London.”

Sarah Champion, the Labour chair of the International Development Committee, said serious concerns had been raised about Shein’s labour practices.

“No company using modern slavery should be listed in London. Unless the allegations around Shein are addressed, we should not support their application,” she said.

A spokesperson for Shein said: “SHEIN is investing millions of pounds in strengthening governance and compliance across our supply chain.

“Our regular supplier audits are showing a consistent improvement in performance and compliance by our supplier partners. This includes improvements in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for what they do.”


Modern Slavery Allegations

Shein’s Modern Slavery Statement is available on its UK website as required by law, the spokesperson added.

Liam Byrne, the Labour chair of the Business and Trade Committee, expressed concern that parliament’s dissolution for a July 4 general election meant Shein’s initial public offering might not get the necessary scrutiny.

“It is not ideal that Shein’s floating in London could get the green light without parliamentary scrutiny,” he said.

“Parliament needs to satisfy itself that the concerns raised recently by the US Congress of forced labour in Shein’s supply chains have been thoroughly addressed.”

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Uyghurs – a mainly Muslim minority group in China – also called for a closer examination of Shein.

“When it comes to a company like Shein and whom it uses in its labour and supply chains in China, we need more serious scrutiny,” he said.

The spokesperson for Shein added: “As a global company serving customers across more than 150 countries, we believe it is healthy to attract scrutiny and transparency and we want to be held to the highest standards.”


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

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US Lawmakers Demand Supply Chain Check Before Shein IPO



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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