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China’s Shein files for U.S. IPO

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Reuters

Published



Jun 30, 2023

Shein, the Chinese online fashion retailer worth more than $60 billion that is under scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers over its labor practices, has registered with regulators for an initial public offering in New York, people familiar with the matter said.

Shein

The stock market debut could make Shein the most valuable Chinese company to go public in the United States since ride-hailing giant Didi Global listed in New York in 2021 at a $68 billion valuation. Didi was delisted from New York 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 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the sources said. The stock market debut could come before the end of 2023, the sources added.
The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential.

A spokesperson for Shein said by email that the company “denies these rumors.” The spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for further details. The SEC declined to comment.

In pressing on with its IPO plans, Shein is braving heightened tensions between the United States and China over trade, sensitive technology, human rights and the future of Taiwan.

Its IPO is opposed by a bipartisan group of two dozen U.S. representatives, who have asked the SEC to verify the company does not use force labor 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.

U.S. lawmakers are also seeking to restrict the “de minimis” tariff exemption widely used by e-commerce retailers such as Shein to send orders from China to the United States. A federal brief in April accused Shein of exploiting the exemption to avoid duties and import illegally made items.

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 U.S. IPO for at least three years, but was deterred by headwinds that included U.S. scrutiny of Chinese accounting practices and bouts of market volatility fueled 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.
 

© Thomson Reuters 2023 All rights reserved.



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