Nigel Farage: Shein’s London Listing is a ‘Very Bad Idea’

Nigel Farage: Shein’s London Listing is a ‘Very Bad Idea’

8 Jun    Finance News, News

Nigel Farage, leader of Reform UK, has expressed strong opposition to the idea of Shein, the Chinese-founded fast-fashion retailer, listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Farage criticised efforts by ministers, including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, to attract the company to London, arguing that it would not help revive the market.

Farage emphasised that Shein’s potential £50 billion listing would not enhance London’s financial stature. The retailer has faced accusations of forced labour in its supply chain, which it denies. “Encouraging Shein to choose London would be a mistake,” Farage said, adding that it “won’t change the IPO crisis” in the City.

He continued, “They see an IPO for Shein and say, ‘Oh isn’t that marvellous because London needs it’. No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. Saying no to Shein is not cutting off our nose to spite our face. It’s saying we think this is a very bad idea.”

Farage, the parliamentary candidate for Clacton, attributed the London Stock Exchange’s struggles to “excess regulation” and called for a “radical rethink of the financial market rules.” He argued that “We have not deregulated from EU rules at all.”

Shein has been preparing for a London listing after earlier plans to float in New York were thwarted by political opposition. Although founded in China, Shein is now headquartered in Singapore and is working on paperwork for a potential blockbuster listing, though this does not guarantee it will choose the UK market.

Both Conservative and Labour parties have indicated support for Shein listing in London. Labour MPs recently met with the retailer, affirming that “raising investment, productivity, and growth is one of Labour’s missions for government.” Jeremy Hunt also held talks with Shein’s executive chairman Donald Tang in January, in an effort to persuade the retailer to choose London.

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Shein has rapidly grown to become one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, known for its ability to launch new products swiftly. However, concerns have been raised about how it can afford to charge such low prices, with some items selling for as little as £4. US Senator Marco Rubio stated in April that there was a “high probability these companies have facilitated the importation of goods made with forced labour.”

These concerns focus on Shein’s Chinese supplier base, particularly as much of China’s cotton comes from Xinjiang, where there are allegations of forced labour involving Uyghurs. Last week, Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive of CCLA Investment Management, warned that allowing Shein to list in London would risk the City becoming a “listing venue of last resort” for companies with questionable human rights records.

Smith added that government support for a Shein float “sends the signal that the UK is willing to overlook significant human rights concerns.”

A spokesperson for Shein responded, “Shein has a zero-tolerance policy for forced labour and we are committed to respecting human rights. We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously and require our contract manufacturers to only source cotton from approved regions.”

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