Shein, the ultra-fast fashion giant that’s taken the world by storm, has brought on another high-profile executive to steer his ship. Recently, Jessica Liu, former co-president of Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Lazada, was brought on board as vice president of global brand operations.
Liu will be responsible for “global brand partnerships,” according to Shein’s post on LinkedIn. This is an intriguing development as the platform has mostly focused on its own brands Shein, Romwe and Sheglam. Eureka News Now reached out to Shein for more details on its plans for global partnerships.
There are already signs that Shein is looking to evolve into an all-encompassing e-commerce platform with its horizontal expansion into home appliances, pet products and its most ambitious venture since fashion – cosmetics, which comes under the Sheglam brand.
According to Chinese news site 36kr, Shein is projected to generate $30 billion in gross merchandise value in 2022, beating expectations. In comparison, H&M sold 199 billion SEK (19.3 billion US dollars) worth of products in 2021. But Shein’s low-margin, high-volume business is increasingly threatened by its Chinese competitor Temu, Pinduoduo’s foreign brother. Within a few months, Temu flew through the US app stores and topped all free apps for weeks.
Working with outside brands could help Shein scale faster across product categories rather than relying on in-house development. Shein has become a master at managing a vast network of contract manufacturers, but he’s probably a stranger in the high-gloss world of brands. Shoppers can already find Aukey, the electronics giant hit hard by Amazon’s crackdown on Chinese sellers last year, on Shein.
Given her extensive experience with brands, Liu seems like the right candidate to grow Shein’s third-party business. Her e-commerce career began nearly two decades ago at Amazon China before heading up the fashion and luxury arm of Tmall, Alibaba’s big-brand online department store. Her tenure at Lazada, a member of Rocket Internet that was acquired by Alibaba, lasted less than two years.
Liu is just one of a handful of industry veterans recently hired by Shein to expand its talent pool as the company seeks new areas of growth and faces pressure to address environmental, social and governance, or ESG challenges . Donald Tang, a former Bear Sterns investment banker, has joined as executive vice chairman as the company prepares for its IPO. Leonard Lin, who spent nearly a decade at Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, is now Shein’s global head of government relations. In the US, Shein recently hired its first lobbyists and Disney veteran Adam Whinston as global head of ESG.