Ultra-fast-fashion retailer Shein could favour London instead of New York for its blockbuster IPO

May 17, 2024

Shein, the ultra-fast fashion retailer, is considering London over New York for its IPO due to concerns about its ties to China. Despite efforts to convince US lawmakers that it is not controlled from China, Shein has not fully succeeded. Six months ago, the Singapore-domiciled company filed preparatory paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, but is now under scrutiny by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party for its links to Beijing and data privacy practices.

Sources suggest Shein might prioritize a listing in London, with recent engagements with London-based financial and legal advisors. Executive chair Donald Tang stated that they are exploring all options and no decision has been made yet. A Shein spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

A London IPO would be a significant boost for the city’s financial market, especially after losing several high-profile businesses like TUI. Shein is valued at approximately $66 billion (£52 billion).

Despite its success, Shein has faced controversies, particularly concerning workplace practices. The company had vowed to improve conditions, but a recent report by the advocacy group Public Eye revealed that some employees still work 75-hour weeks. In response, a Shein spokesperson emphasized their commitment to enhancing working conditions and noted the report was based on a small sample of 13 interviewees, not reflecting the broader efforts to improve their supply chain.

Shein has invested tens of millions of dollars in strengthening governance and compliance, aiming to empower suppliers and build more responsible businesses. The company claims these efforts are yielding results, with regular supplier audits showing consistent improvements in performance and compliance.