Coupang, one of Korea’s major e-commerce companies, announced on Nov. 21 that it has attracted US$2 billion in investment from SoftBank's Vision Fund.
This is an additional investment from SoftBank Group that invested $1 billion in June 2015. The investment is the largest ever made in a Korean Internet company, and Coupang broke his own record again.
The e-commerce company said the latest investment would help it continue its drive to innovate services for customers.
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group, said, “The huge vision and leadership presented by chairman Kim Beom-seok has made Coupang a leader in the Korean e-commerce market and one of the most innovative Internet companies in the world. I am proud to join with Coupang, whic continues to offer more value to customers."
Korea's e-commerce market is the world's fifth-largest and fastest-growing market. Coupang is Korea's largest e-commerce company with sales in 2018 expected to hit 5 trillion won.
Yet the company continues to incur huge losses. Last year, its operating loss amounted to 565.2 billion won, boosting its accumulated losses in the two years of 2016 and 2017 to 1.1 trillion won. The company, however, says its potential for growth is large enough to calm concerns about the continued losses.
Currently, Coupang sells 120 million products, four million of which can be delivered to customers on the next day through “rocket delivery.” The accumulated amount of rocket shipments exceeded 1 billion items in September 2018, according to the company.
Coupang has been investing heavily in new technologies to accelerate its growth. It has built a cloud platform to respond quickly to the sudden increase in demand. It has also introduced “Rocket Pay” to offer a more convenient shopping experience such as one-touch payment to customers.
"Coupang has been constantly trying to develop technologies that can make life dramatically easier for customers." said CEO Kim.
Among the recent innovations made by Coupang are the early morning delivery and the “Rocket Fresh.” Customers can order millions of rocket shipments by midnight and receive them before 7 a.m. the next morning. Rocket Fresh is a service that delivers fresh food and organic products to customers within hours of ordering. The coverage of this new service was expanded to half of the nation within 30 days of launch.
Meanwhile, Coupang claims that it has established itself as a new growth model for the Korean economy. The company increased the number of employees, hired directly or indirectly, from 5,500 in 2015 to 24,000 this year. It plans to more than double the size of its logistics center, which currently has a floor space equal to 151 soccer fields put together, by 2019.
The company recently introduced a new type of job called Coupangplex, which offers free working hours. Coupangplex applicants surpassed 100,000 in just two months after recruiting women, young people who need jobs to work in parallel with their studies, and retired people who need additional income.
Founded in 2010, Coupang has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles.