Money and Markets

Chinese fast fashion company Shein is now worth more than Zara and H&M combined

Business Insider US
British reality star Georgia Toffolo partnered with Shein in 2020 to launch a collection of clothes. Antony Jones/Getty Images for SHEIN
British reality star Georgia Toffolo partnered with Shein in 2020 to launch a collection of clothes. Antony Jones/Getty Images for SHEIN
  • Chinese retailer Shein was valued at $100 billion (R1.4 trillion) in a recent funding round, the WSJ reported. 
  • That makes the online fast fashion company worth more than H&M and Zara combined.
  • But its growth has not been without controversy, with the brand accused of plagiarising designs.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Controversial Chinese fast fashion company Shein was valued at $100 billion (R1.4 trillion) following a recent funding round, which makes the online retailer worth more than H&M and Zara combined, the Wall Street Journal reported

The funding round, which closed last week, had raised between $1 billion (R14.5 billion) and $2 billion (R29 billion) for Shein, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shein did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Founded in 2008, Shein is known for selling inexpensive clothes and lifestyle items, with more than 2,000 new styles added daily. It operates on an on-demand business model, which means clothing items are released in small batches and are only mass-produced if they become hits. 

Its aggressive social media tactics include paid partnerships with influencers and celebrities like Addison Rae and Madelaine Petsch, which help the brand attract new Gen Z shoppers. In turn, young consumers often post TikTok videos of their "hauls" showing off giant orders of recently purchased items.

Last year, it overtook Amazon to become the most downloaded shopping app in the US. According to a report by Earnest Research, it also became the largest fast fashion retailer in the US by sales in June, surpassing the likes of H&M, Zara, and Forever 21.

However, the firm's fast growth has not been without controversy. Besides the environmental impact associated with fast fashion, Shein has been accused of stealing designs

Designer Mariama Diallo accused Shein on Twitter last year of copying designs from her clothing line Sincerely Ria. 

Artists have complained of their designs being stolen by the company as well. Oil painter Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian last month that one of her works appeared on a Shein pullover without her permission.   

Shoppers have also complained about the poor quality of Shein's clothes. Customers have lodged more than 1,100 complaints about Shein with the Better Business Bureau. 

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

Rand - Dollar
16.38
-0.5%
Rand - Pound
19.84
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.12
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.19
+0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.1%
Gold
1,802.48
-0.3%
Silver
20.09
-0.9%
Palladium
1,930.50
-0.5%
Platinum
897.50
-0.0%
Brent Crude
109.03
-3.1%
Top 40
60,109
0.0%
All Share
66,223
0.0%
Resource 10
63,748
0.0%
Industrial 25
79,405
0.0%
Financial 15
14,686
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo