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Temu sues rival Shein over “Mafia-style intimidation of suppliers”

Man holding a mobile with Temu logo at horizontal composition

Chinese discount retailer Temu has sued its competitor Shein for alleged copyright infringement and "Mafia-style intimidation of suppliers."

WhaleCo, the Boston-based company operating as Temu in the US, alleges Shein has violated its intellectual property rights.

Shein is accused of resorting to extreme measures such as falsely imprisoning merchants to hinder Temu's expansion in the US.

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Shein has not yet responded to a request for comment.

This legal clash follows a recent development where both companies had mutually dropped lawsuits against each other in October, over copyright and antitrust concerns. 

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Last December, Shein sued Temu for intellectual property infringement.

However, Temu accused Shein of intimidating and coercing manufacturers into exclusive agreements in July.

Temu sells affordable made-in-China products, and Shein relies on contracted manufacturers for low-priced goods.

The rivalry has intensified since Temu's US launch in September 2022. 

The filing claims that Shein perceives Temu as its primary threat, prompting malicious and unlawful actions to impede Temu's success.

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Temu quickly gained popularity among cost-conscious shoppers globally after its international debut. 

Chinese tech giant PDD Holdings owns the company, which also supports the e-commerce app Pinduoduo.

Shein, founded in China in 2008, confidentially filed for a US IPO in November, boasting a valuation of $66 billion.

In June, a US House committee report accused Shein and Temu of exploiting trade loopholes to import goods into the US without paying import duties or undergoing human rights reviews. 

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