- 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.
Designer Mariama Diallo accused Shein on Twitter last year of copying designs from her clothing line Sincerely Ria.
Im SO over these major brands stealing from black designers. @SHEIN_official STOLE my @sincerelyriaxo designs to a T. They couldnâ€™t even change ONE thing and itâ€™s now one of their highest selling items. They even stole the brands aesthetic. Like Come on pic.twitter.com/ose8DiM9hK— Mariama Diallo âœ¨ (@MariamaDiallo__) June 11, 2021
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.