Opaque and tax-optimi­sed: Shein’s corporate structure

The corporate structure of Chinese fast-fashion giant Shein is opaque and tax-optimized, and ownership is unclear. A multitude of brands make the group even less tangible.
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Shein’s headquarters, Guangzhou Xiyin International Import & Export, has been located in South China since 2017, in the neighbourhood of Panyu in the metropolis of Guangzhou, near to most supplier factories. At least 14 Chinese subsidiaries and holdings are docked here. The headquarters is owned by Zoetop Business in Hong Kong. The company also manages the international trademark brand rights of the Shein Group and its e-commerce business.

For its part, Zoetop Business belongs to Beauty of Fashion Investment, based in the British Virgin Islands, which is known as an opaque financial centre. Other Shein companies are also based in tax havens – in the British Cayman Islands, Delaware in the US and Dublin in Ireland.

Beauty of Fashion owns Roadget Business, a Shein company first set up in late 2019 in Singapore. It controls Shein’s brand rights and, as of recently, the e-commerce business in the EU.

Shein’s corporate structure, as of October 2021; simplified, incomplete depiction based on publicly available information; errors are not excluded.

Since late 2019, the founder Xu Yiangtian has been gradually removed from the role of CEO. The majority of the companiesy, including the company headquarters in Guangzhou Xiyin, is now managed by his business partner Gu Xiaoqing. The company has been silent on the reasons for this turnaround and business newspapers have not received any notification of it; most continue to incorrectly name Xu Yiangtian as Shein’s CEO.

Shein is more than just Shein – the world of brands

Zoetop Business in Hong Kkong, and in recent times Roadget Business in Singapore, oversee Shein’s world of brands.

Some trademarks brands are sub-brands of the main Shein brand and are offered on shein.com; others are advertised on other websites in addition to (as is the case for Romwe and Motf) or instead of (in the case of Emmacloth) Shein’s site. There are also online retailers that appear independent at first glance, but that actually reference Zoetop or Roadget in their terms and conditions – this is the case for istrend.net, streetmood.se or mislead.pk.

Some of the trademarks registered to Zoetop or Rodget are sold – and at times also packed and dispatched – via the internet giant Amazon. Some of the products that are sold via Amazon can be found on Shein’s website, with identical images but at a fraction of the price. For instance, a long-sleevedarmed t-shirt that is offered for EUR 18.99 on Amazon’s Soly Hux brand shop appears under the Shein brand on its website for just EUR 4.99. One can assume that the products are identical and were produced in the same production site.

Toiling away for Shein Looking behind the shiny façade of the Chinese “ultra-fast fashion” giant