As Ties to China Turn Toxic, Even Chinese Companies Are Breaking Them

Companies are moving headquarters and factories outside the country and cleaving off their Chinese businesses. It’s not clear the strategy will work.

Ana Swanson

By Ana Swanson

Reporting from Washington

June 15, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET

“As it expanded internationally, Shein, the rapidly growing fast fashion app, progressively cut ties to its home country, China. It moved its headquarters to Singapore and de-registered its original company in Nanjing. It set up operations in Ireland and Indiana, and hired Washington lobbyists to highlight its U.S. expansion plans as it prepares for a potential initial public offering this year.

Yet the clothing retailer can’t shake the focus on its ties with China. Along with other brands like the viral social app TikTok and shopping app Temu, Shein has become a target of American lawmakers in both parties. Politicians are accusing the company of making its clothes with fabric made with forced labor and calling it a tool of the Chinese Communist Party — claims that Shein denies.

“No one should be fooled by Shein’s efforts to cover its tracks,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote in a letter to other lawmakers this month.

As relations between the United States and China turn increasingly rocky, some of China’s most entrepreneurial brands have taken steps to distance themselves from their home country. They have set up new factories and headquarters outside China to serve the United States and other foreign markets, emphasized their foreign ties and scrubbed any mention of “China” from their corporate websites.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT NYT comment:

Interesting piece, thank you Ana Swanson. Goes well with a Bloomberg Businessweek piece from mid-may, on how the US is trying to be far more careful in its trade with China, but not stop it completely, and upset our allies. I support the Biden team’s determination to stop all kinds of techological theft from China, and to cease all transfers of sensitive technology. We have to remeber as we push China for more transparency and civil rights, to not stop those efforts at home. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at