Shein has reportedly lodged confidential paperwork with securities regulators informing them of its intention to go public in the US with a listing that could be worth nearly $90-billion.
The Chinese fast fashion titan, which counts ‘I’m A Celebrity’ star Georgia Toffolo, 29, among its fans, offers tops and dresses from $6 (R100) and has become a staple for many young women.
It is said to have filed papers for an initial public offering (IPO), with Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley reportedly hired as lead underwriters, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The New York Times.
Shein was founded in China in 2012 but is based in Singapore and has faced criticism over its treatment of workers in the country.
The listing would likely be the largest IPO in years as Shein is one of the global leaders of fast fashion e-commerce due to its a network of small-shipment manufacturers in China and a massive online advertising presence.
News of the apparent filing plans follows reports and rumours from last year the company intended to go public in the US in 2024.
Within a decade it reached a valuation of $100-billion at an April 2022 fundraising round, making it the third most valuable start-up in the world.
By May this year the company’s value had dropped to a little more than $60-billion but if it goes ahead with the IPO it is still expected to become the most valuable China-founded company to go public in the US since ride-hailing giant Didi Global’s debut in 2021 at $68-billion valuation.
Shein has expanded manufacturing into Brazil and Turkey, but has been slammed for allegedly poor working conditions in factories, as well as alleged copyright infringement on independent artists’ designs – all of which it has denied.
It has also faced criticism of fast fashion’s impact on the environment.