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Shein ranked as 'most successful start-up of the decade' in new study

Tom Bottomley
17 May 2024

Chinese online fast fashion retailer Shein has topped the list as the number one most successful start-up of the decade, according to a new study.

The Start-up Success Index, by software development experts Vention, analysed a list of 1,220 start-ups, from CB Insights, against their valuation, the public perception of the company through search volume, their own growth score, and the number of employees.

Results for each category were converted into an overall score out of 100 to determine the ranking, and Shein topped the list scoring 87.12 points.

The study revealed that Shein, which has over 100,000 employees, ranked in the top three for every category. It has a value of £52 billion ($66 billion), the third highest in the study, and an average monthly search volume of 62 million globally.

Shein is also being searched for 277-fold greater than TikTok owner ByteDance, which ranked second on the list of most successful start-ups of the decade, scoring 83.57.

ChatGPT maker OpenAI came in at number three with an overall index score of 76.56, though it did have the second most significant company valuation and growth rate.

Marc Karasu, CMO at Vention, said: "Over the past decade, many start-up websites and apps have emerged as highly successful in profitability and worldwide dominance. The top three in the study, Shein, Bytedance and OpenAI, have achieved significant success as start-ups, which could be due to a combination of innovative business models, strategic partnerships and cutting-edge technology."

In the top 10, the study found that fintech appeared to be the most prevalent industry, with more tech-based start-ups being more successful than ‘traditional’ start-ups.

In the retail industry, the second most popular company after Shein was American consumer goods and food delivery company, GoPuff, which ranked 12th.

Earlier this week it was reported that some Shein suppliers are still working 75-hour weeks despite improvements in working conditions.

Shein relies on thousands of third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers near its headquarters in Guangzhou, to turn around new items of clothing in a matter of weeks.

At the end of April, after months of speculation, it was reported that Shein is anticipated to float on the London Stock Exchange instead of New York and, according to a report by American financial services firm, Morningstar, yesterday, "the City of London has begun to stir with excitement" at the prospect, "bolstering hopes that the UK can regain its standing among the global financial capitals after a series of disappointments".

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