If you haven't been targeted by fashion retail giant Shein's online ads, then you’ve likely seen high-profile TikTok users reviewing its merchandise. Shein is a B2C fashion e-commerce company based in Nanjing, China, founded by Chris Xu. Shein has experienced great success since its launch in Oct. 2008, leaving many wondering what its CEO is worth.
Although Chris Xu’s net worth hasn't been disclosed to the public, one thing we can tell you is that the e-commerce giant has an estimated value of $15 billion. How did Shein start and grow so quickly?
How did Chris Xu start Shein?
Chris Xu is an “American-born graduate from Washington University,” reports Forbes. Before Xu became the name behind Shein, he operated a wedding dress business. Then, in 2012, he took over Sheinside.com, a website that primarily sold women’s clothing. In 2015, Xu “renamed the company to Shein,” and began targeting “overseas markets.”
What is Shein, and why is it worth a reported $15 billion today?
Shein offers “on-trend styles” at prices “that won't break the bank,” according to the company’s website. While it typically caters to Gen Z and teens, anyone is bound to land on what looks like a good buy when visiting Shein’s website. From blouses to jeans to makeup brushes, Shein provides a wide array of products to all genders and ages at affordable prices.
Shein currently sells to “more than 220 counties and regions around the world,” and its largest market is the U.S., according to Forbes. Shein earned its $15 billion valuation after it received several funding rounds,” the latest being a Series E round in 2020.
Although Shein’s revenue isn’t easily accessible, Forbes reports the company sees “more than $10 billion annually.” Shein managed to sustain that figure even during the pandemic, thanks to the very low costs it offers its merchandise for.
Shein is the “most-installed shopping app in America,” according to NPR. Although Shein’s shipping speed doesn’t compare to that of other e-commerce platforms that promise same-day and next-day delivery, its prices keep customers coming back for more.
Like most companies, Shein has experienced its share of backlash
Shein has certainly experienced ups and downs like all other companies. Several TikTok users took to the social media platform to expose the retailer for shipping merchandise containing fleas. The online retailer was also targeted in an article published by Medium titled “Here’s Why You Should Never Shop at Shein No Matter What.”
The company issued a product recall over children’s sleepwear sets due to its failure to “meet federal flammability standards.” Shein has also been recognized for creating apparel that closely resembles that sold by Zara but at a much lower price, and designers have taken to social media to express their frustration over Shein mocking their patterns and designs. However, despite the adversity the e-commerce giant faces, it appears to be prospering.
Does Shein have plans of going public?
In June 2021, Forbes reported Shein had plans of going public, valuing itself at $47 billion. The e-commerce fashion retailer has since “denied the rumors.” Although Shein could potentially go public, it would be required to comply with all requirements outlined by the SEC.
In July 2021, the SEC paused “U.S. initial public offerings of Chinese companies” due to transparency issues. The company might also run into issues with potential investors due to its lack of originality, given that it's been accused on several occasions of “stealing” designs.