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Amazon is helping a Chinese upstart make a comeback in India after its app was banned

By Michelle Toh, CNN Business

Shein, a fast fashion website that has emerged as a fierce competitor to Zara, is making its return to India — indirectly, at least — after being swept up in a crackdown on Chinese tech companies last year.

The Chinese company’s platform was banished from the country as part of an Indian government ban on dozens of apps as tensions between the two countries escalated.

Now the brand appears to have found a way back in through Amazon. Shein is featured as a seller on Amazon’s Indian website for its Prime Day festival in the country later this month.

Amazon’s biggest annual shopping event took place in the United States in June, and is slated to run in India from July 26 to July 27.

Shein is an online shopping platform known for trendy, affordable womenswear and other apparel. The company has built a name for itself by prioritizing speed and range, and claims it lists “500 new fashion items daily.”

In response to a query from CNN Business, Amazon said that “Shein branded apparel is among the many Prime Day new launches from various sellers.”

“ offers its customers a wide selection of products, across local and global brands,” it added in a statement.

Shein did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

And little is known about the inner workings of the privately held and notoriously secretive company. In past press releases, Shein has disclosed that it was founded in 2008, while listing the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing as a home base. (PitchBook, the private market data provider, says the company is based in Shenzhen.)

Shein bills itself as a global company, with a reach that includes more than 220 countries or regions across the world. It says its key markets are in Europe, the United States, Australia and the Middle East.

Shein’s return to India comes after the country’s decision to ban nearly 60 apps last June, including many prominent Chinese ones.

The country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said at the time that the platforms posed a “threat to sovereignty and integrity,” raising fresh concerns for businesses as tensions simmered between Beijing and New Delhi.

The ministry suggested the move was linked to data security, saying in a statement last summer that it had received numerous complaints about misuse and transmission of user information by some mobile apps to servers outside India.

One year later, the ban appears to still be in effect.

As of Wednesday afternoon local time in India, Shein had a notice to customers posted on its Indian website, stating that it would not take orders from users “until we can make a new agreement with the government.”

“After receiving the official order from the Indian government, Shein strictly complied with the order and regulations,” the company said. “Data safety is our top priority.”

— RIshi Iyengar contributed to this report.

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