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Coupang investments boost mobile shopping

Oct 02,2014
As more Korean consumers lean toward buying direct from foreign brands online and e-commerce giants like Amazon, local social commerce site Coupang is strengthening its mobile services to stay competitive and differentiate itself from competitors.

The company already has a significant presence in the local market, saying it records a higher number of visitors to its mobile shopping mall every month. According to Nielson KoreanClick, Coupang has maintained the No. 1 position in the Korean e-commerce market in terms of monthly visitors to its mobile shopping application for 26 straight months since July 2012.

For Coupang, about 75 percent of shopping transactions are made through its mobile app.

According to data from the Financial Supervisory Service, social commerce companies WeMakePrice and TMon last year showed operating losses of 71 billion won ($66.9 million) and 36 billion won, respectively. Coupang has not disclosed sales and profit data.
Nonetheless, Coupang decided to expand investment.

“Although Coupang is a retailer, our main channel nowadays is mobile e-commerce,” said a spokesman from Coupang. “We are working hard to keep improving users’ experience.”

One of the company’s strategic investments in the mobile sector was the May acquisition of Silicon Valley data analysis service developer CalmSea, which specializes in database management systems, big data analysis platforms and retail management optimization program. Former CalmSea CEO James Dai serves as Coupang’s chief technology officer, working at the company’s headquarters in Korea.

In addition, U.S.-based venture firm Sequoia Capital invested $100 million at the end of May, which Coupang plans to use to further strengthen its mobile service.

“Through the investment, we hope to develop mobile platforms and shipping services that will enhance our customers’ shopping experience,” said Bom Kim, founder and CEO of the company.


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]


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