Cross-border Chinese e-commerce platform Shein has partially closed India operations, two years after it debuted in the country. The Chinese company, which has a strong presence in the US for its affordable fashion offerings, has been facing a crackdown from customs authorities in Mumbai.
According to a report in The Economic Times, the customs authorities had held back 500 parcels of Sino India Etail, the registered seller on SheIn India, and sealed a warehouse. According to the report, customer orders were being cancelled and refunds processed by the portal citing ‘custom clearance issue for import’.
The website and mobile app said: “We are upgrading our systems for newer experience, with fresh looks and exciting offers. Request you to hold back for some time while watch this space for more!”
Specific queries sent to SheIn did not elicit any response till the time of publishing the article.
The issue faced by SheIn is similar to that of ClubFactory, which has seen its order volumes shrink after a crackdown by the government on the misuse of the ‘gift channel’ that allows for gifts worth up to Rs 5,000 to be imported to India by non-resident India and is exempt from customs duties.
Companies like ClubFactory, AliExpress and SheIn have allegedly under-valued goods and misused the ‘gift route’ previously.
The company, which primarily sees traffic on its app and mobile site, had increased its marketing spend in India with offline events and influencer marketing in recent times. The platform counts the US as its primary market, according to data sourced from web analytics and intelligence platform Similar Web, with majority of the traffic coming in from ads on digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube.