A woman holds a Shein shopping bag stand outside the first permanent showroom of Chinese online fast fashion giant Shein on the opening day of the shop in Tokyo on November 13, 2022. (Photo by Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP) (Photo by YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Shein, the Chinese fashion retailer, is poised to make a comeback in India after a three-year ban. Known for its trendy and affordable clothing and accessories targeted at young women, Shein’s return is eagerly anticipated.
Founded in October 2008 by Chris Xu, Shein swiftly made a name for itself as an international online fashion retailer. In 2017, it ventured into the Indian market, quickly amassing over 5 million downloads within a year and competing with established fashion giants like Zara and H&M.
Operating primarily through its website and mobile app, Shein captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts worldwide by offering an extensive range of on-trend clothing, accessories, and fashion items at affordable prices.
One of the key factors contributing to Shein’s allure was its claim that the company’s branded products primarily originated from the United States, India, Brazil, and Australia. These markets held significant appeal for the brand’s global customer base.
However, in June 2020, the Indian government dealt a severe blow to Shein and 58 other Chinese apps. Tensions between India and China, exacerbated by a border dispute, led to the ban.
Citing concerns about activities detrimental to national security, the Indian government implemented the ban under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
Notable apps such as TikTok and WeChat also faced the same fate, reflecting the gravity of the situation.
Despite the ban on the Shein app, the brand’s products managed to find their way into the hands of Indian consumers through alternative channels like Amazon.
Three years have passed, and Shein is ready to reclaim its position in the Indian market through a strategic partnership with Reliance Retail.
This collaboration opens doors for Shein, granting access to Reliance Retail’s extensive sourcing capabilities, warehousing, and logistics infrastructure.
Additionally, Shein gains entry into Reliance Retail’s portfolio of online and offline stores, further enhancing its reach.
Interestingly, Shein’s headquarters have now shifted from China to Singapore. This relocation prompts the question of whether India still considers the brand a Chinese entity. The answer could potentially shape Shein’s reception in the Indian market.
However, Shein’s path to resurgence is not without challenges.
Since its initial departure, several startups like Urbanic have emerged, catering to the demand for affordable fashion among Indian youth.
This increased competition means that Shein will need to stand out and reestablish its foothold in the hearts of Indian fashion enthusiasts.
While Shein has garnered praise for its fast-fashion model and competitive pricing, the brand has faced its fair share of controversies. Environmental and health concerns, as well as the use of offensive imagery in designs, have plagued the company.
Addressing these ongoing controversies will be essential for Shein’s successful comeback and the restoration of its reputation.