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Coupang eyes Nasdaq listing in Q2

Jan 08, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Coupang's fast delivery service has made it the country's leading e-commerce company.
Coupang's fast delivery service has made it the country's leading e-commerce company.


South Korea’s leading e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is preparing for a trading debut on the Nasdaq in the second quarter, by which the company's valuation could top $30 billion.

SoftBank Vision Fund, run by SoftBank Group’s Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, holds a 37% stake in Coupang. In addition to the Korean e-commerce company, SoftBank is also preparing to list at least six other companies, Bloomberg reported on Jan. 7, citing anonymous sources.

Global investors are paying close attention to Coupang because of its vast growth potential, as the company is noted for its tangible results in Korea as an e-commerce business, thanks to the growing popularity of its speedy delivery service and robust logistics network.

Coupang's revenue, which stood at 348.4 billion won ($317.5 million) in 2014, swelled to around 7.2 trillion won in 2020, over twentyfold in just five years. Its annual transaction amount is estimated to exceed around 17 trillion won ($15.5 billion).

Last month, the company also announced plans to launch a subscription-based video streaming service, Coupang Play, to compete against Netflix Inc. and other over-the-top (OTT) players in the flourishing video streaming industry.


Graphics by Jerry Lee
Graphics by Jerry Lee


Kim Bom, who founded the company in 2010, is heading toward fulfilling his goal of building the “Amazon of Asia” with a team of around 2,000 IT experts, including search engineers. The company recently hired Tuan Pham, the former chief technology officer at US-based ride-hailing platform Uber, as the new CTO.

Industry experts say Coupang’s accumulated algorithm for fast delivery will be the most attractive factor in luring investors. 

“SoftBank and Uber are teaming up to actualize future mobility,” said an IT industry expert. “The mobility data amassed in Korea will serve as a catalyst for Coupang to tap into other countries, such as those in Southeast Asia."

Industry experts also say that Coupang's Nasdaq listing is highly likely this year as it is in need of a capital injection.

Coupang reported an operating loss of 638.8 billion won in 2017, 1.1 trillion won in 2018, and 720.5 billion won in 2019. Last year, it earmarked 300 billion won to buffer the effect of quarantine measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making it more likely for the company to post a massive loss for fiscal year 2020.

Write to Dong-hui Park at donghuip@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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