Say Hello to Coupang, the “Amazon” of South Korea

Published on March 18, 2021

Coupang (NYSE: CPNG) is a South Korean e-commerce company that dominated the New York Stock Exchange after going public last week. The company has seen much growth over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to provide fast service for its customers.

What is Coupang?

Coupang is South Korea’s largest e-commerce company. Founded in 2010 by Korean-American billionaire Bom Suk Kim, the Seoul-based company primarily focuses on its Rocket Delivery service and Rocket Wow Club membership, which is similar to Amazon Prime in a way.

With millions of items to choose from, customers are able to receive their items on either the same day or the next day through Rocket Delivery, and it’s available to anyone who has a Rocket Wow Club membership; the membership only costs 2,900 KRW (roughly around $2.60) per month and is free for the first 30 days.

In contrast to Amazon, the company also offers what’s known as Dawn Delivery. With this specific service, customers who order any item by midnight will receive it by 7 AM the following morning.

Last year, Coupang launched another component to its Rocket Delivery service. Rocket Fresh Same-Day Delivery focuses more on grocery items. If customers order vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy or other fresh goods before 10 AM, Coupang delivers them by 6 PM the same day.

The company also said that its Rocket Fresh Same-Day Delivery helps customers with following COVID-19 guidelines by not having to go out and shop as much outside.

Alongside its main e-commerce systems, Coupang offers additional services such as Coupang Eats, a food-delivery service, and MyStore, which allows small businesses to sell on the platform. Last December, the company launched its streaming service, Coupang Play, after acquiring assets of Singaporean streaming service HOOQ. Furthermore, Coupang Logistics launched back in January, which now handles Coupang deliveries.

Since its inception, the Coupang now has over 100 fulfilment and logistics centers in over 30 cities; this includes Beijing, Los Angeles, Seattle, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, and Silicon Valley.

Coupang’s Growth and Debut on the NYSE

The COVID-19 pandemic caused people to social distance and stay home. Such measures led to a drastic surge in the e-commerce market. Coupang saw its revenue rise by $12 billion last year, marking a 91 percent jump from 2020. Although, the company did see a net loss of $567.6 million.

After Coupang went public on March 11, its shares rose by 40 percent, making it the largest IPO in the United States so far this year. The company initially priced 130 million of its shares at $35 apiece and its stock began trading at $63.50 apiece.

By the end of the day, shares closed at $49.25, which gave the company a market cap of $84.47 billion. According to PitchBook, Coupang was last valued in the private market at $9 billion in a 2018 funding round. The company’s offering also raised around $4.6 billion.

In addition to its booming opening day, Coupang’s IPO marks a big win for SoftBank, whose $100 billion Vision Fund owns 35.1 percent of the company; SoftBank invested a total of $3 billion in Couprang, with $1 billion in 2015 and and $2 billion in 2018.

Lexi Jones is an award-winning journalist and Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Las Vegas, she covers startup brands in entertainment, internet and LGBTQ+ startup news. She is also an editor of Grit Daily's "Top 100" entrepreneur lists.

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