South Korea’s Largest E-Commerce Platform Coupang Is About to Go Public


BusinessKorea on Coupang’s impending IPO:

Much attention is now paid to whether Coupang, the largest e-commerce platform in South Korea, will be listed on the KOSDAQ as the first Korean version of Tesla. As the company raised 1.1 trillion won (US$975.61 million) of investment from Japanese telecommunication giant SoftBank in 2015, its corporate value was estimated at 5.5 trillion won (US$4.88 billion). Accordingly, the market capitalization of Coupang is expected to surpass those of retailers listed on the local stock markets after an initial public offering (IPO).

Coupang had $492 million in operating loss in 2015, which was more than the year before. That is.. a lot.

Coupang saw its sales surge from 348.5 billion won (US$309.09 million) in 2014 to 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion) in 2015.

For comparison, here are the current numbers for South Korean WeMakePrice:

WeMakePrice announced on April 6 that it posted 369.1 billion won (US$326.35 million) in sales last year, up 70.5 percent from a year earlier. The company reduced its operating losses by 55.3 percent to 63.6 billion won (US$56.23 million), while it recorded net losses of 83 billion won (US$73.39 million).

Coupang’s 2016 numbers should be out any day now.

On Coupang’s investors:

Coupang succeeded in raising US$100 million (112.75 billion won) from Sequoia Capital and US$300 million (338.25 billion won) from a consortium led by BlackRock in 2014 and US$1 billion (1.13 trillion won) from SoftBank in 2015

For more on Coupang read this Forbes portrait of the company from a year ago:

It’s the closest thing the country has to and in several key ways it’s better. Coupang and its founder, Kim, are a big reason Jeff Bezos will continue to avoid the country and its 51 million people. The six-year-old startup grossed about $300 million in 2014, a figure that will likely quadruple for 2015 when full-year numbers are reported later this month. Last June the company raised $1 billion at a $5 billion valuation in a round led by Japanese telecom firm SoftBank, which hit pay dirt betting early on Alibaba. SoftBank thinks it can do it again with Coupang. […]

In two years Coupang has built a last-mile delivery network of customized trucks, algorithm-controlled warehouses and 3,600 “Coupangmen” who deliver goods and chat up customers. For South Korea, where the average package takes two or three days to arrive at a customer’s door, Coupang can get most of its orders to a shopper’s front steps in a day or less at no extra charge. You can cancel an order that’s already on its way or change a package’s destination at the last minute.

​More on this topic:

​* Naspers and the Perspective of Global E-Commerce Investors
* ​How Alibaba’s Lazada is Preparing to Win Southeast Asia
* How China Post’s Ule Is Building the World’s Largest Retail Network

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