Yes, you read it correctly. The fast fashion e-commerce company that few in the tech industry had even heard of two years ago is aiming to raise $1 billion at a valuation of $100 billion. Shein's fundraising plan was first reported by Bloomberg and we've reached out to the firm and its investors for comment. Given its growth, it should surprise no one though that investors are piling in to get a slice of this rising challenger of Zara and Amazon despite its skyrocketing valuation. Last June, the company told us that its valuation was at the “billion-dollar level” as of its last funding round in 2020.
Shein is in talks with General Atlantic for this new funding round, according to Bloomberg. The company counts Tiger Global, IDG and Sequoia among its existing investors. We suggested last June that Amazon should pay attention to Shein, and the numbers from 2021 are telling. According to app analytics firm Apptopia, Shein was the second most downloaded shopping app in the U.S. last year after Amazon. But while Shein still enjoyed great momentum, with its installs growing 68% year over year, Amazon saw a 2.4% decline. Worldwide, Amazon was the fourth most downloaded shopping app, overtaken by Singapore's Shopee, Shein and India's Meesho.
From its 14 years of existence (and hence it's not really a "startup"), Shein has come up with a data-driven, supplier-supported formula to success. Its designers closely track social media influencers and runway shows to devise new pieces, a method that's not too different from other fast fashion brands. What separates Shein is the responsiveness of its supply chain, a vast network of loyal and agile dingy workshops around Guangzhou, a major metropolitan in south China where most of its operations are. The company tests a great variety of cheap clothing in small batches, and if data shows that something is selling well, it quickly places more orders with these suppliers to sell even more. This demand-driven approach allows Shein to maintain low inventory costs.
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