Amazon comes to Korea through 11st
Retail giant Amazon started a new service for Korea Tuesday through 11st, an online shopping platform controlled by SK Telecom.
More than 30 categories of products will be sold on the Amazon Global Store on 11st.
The categories include digital products, household appliances, fashion, cosmetics, books, toys and kitchen utensils.
Goods sold on the main Amazon store in the United States are available to customers in Korea.
Shipping is free for customers of SK Telecom's new T Universe subscription service, and on orders of 28,000 won ($24) or above.
Korea is the 13th country in which Amazon has set up an operation, including China, India, Japan. France and Mexico.
Korea is the first country in which Amazon has teamed up with a local online retailer.
“Starting today, customers in Korea will be able to enjoy the most convenient way to shop global products, with free international shipping from the U.S.,” said Amazon Global Director Somana Konganda in a statement Tuesday.
“We are only getting started and will continue to innovate on your behalf with the addition of many new services and product offerings in the future.”
Lee Sang-ho, CEO of 11st, said Amazon's service was launched in Korea “based on 11st’s know-how in the domestic market and Amazon’s global retail experience.”
11st, 80.28 percent owned by SK Telecom, functions as an intermediary that connects customers to Amazon products.
As a so-called open market platform, 11st does not stock Amazon goods in Korea, but arranges their delivery to Korea once orders are placed.
It will take around six to 10 business days for customers in Korea to receive Amazon products. Delivery of products commonly ordered by customers in Korea may take four to six business days.
All customers will have to pay taxes if they buy goods that cost $200 or more.
Amazon’s partnership with 11st is expected to raise its e-commerce market share, a field dominated by Coupang, Naver and Emart, which acquired 80 percent of eBay Korea in June.
11st had a 6 percent e-commerce market share last year, according to data from Kyobo Securities.
“11st will have to report at least 10 trillion won in annual sales to be able to compete against Naver, Coupang and Emart,” said Seo Yong-gu, who teaches business at Sookmyung Women’s University. “To appeal to Korean customers, rare items and brands that are exclusive in the United States must be sold on the Amazon Global Store.”
Coupang reported $4.48 billion in sales in the second quarter alone, while a total of 28 trillion won in transactions was made on Naver shopping last year.
11st reported 545.6 billion won in sales last year.
Amazon is offering up to 50 percent discounts on some PCs and fashion brands to celebrate the launch of the service in Korea until an unspecified date.
BY JIN MIN-JI [email@example.com]