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A Reflection of South Korea’s E-Commerce Boom

nyse - Reviews - south korea


Table of Contents

Coupang Stock Price

The eMarketer agency estimates the global e-commerce market at $3.9 trillion in 2020, with a growth rate of 16.5%. The estimate does not include the online payment, ticketing, and travel segments. Currently, 62.6% of the e-commerce market is accounted for by Asia Pacific, 19.1% by North America, and 12.7% by Western Europe. Mexico leads in terms of growth rate, followed by South and East Asia.

The e-commerce market is becoming increasingly global. One of the promising markets for online commerce today is South Korea and its main marketplace Coupang. South Korea is a small country with a population of more than 50 million people, but it is one of the most developed Asian countries. There is a very high level of digitalization of the economy and a rapid growth rate of online commerce.

Coupang, Inc. (stock ticker CPNG), which is called “Korea’s Aliexpress“, is the largest e-commerce platform in South Korea. In addition to Korea, Coupang operates in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and China.

The company is incorporated in Delaware, USA, but is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Coupang also has offices in Beijing and Shanghai (China), Los Angeles, Mountain View, and Seattle (USA).

The Company’s common stock is divided into two classes: A and B. Class A shares, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, carry one vote per share. Class B shares carry 29 votes per share. All of the Class B shares (174,802,990 shares with a par value of $0.0001) are owned by the company’s founder, Bom Kim. As a result, he controls 76% of the shareholder votes.

Coupang NYSE

The company’s main revenue streams are online sales of its range of products in Korea and commissions from other merchants selling their products through Coupang’s mobile app and website.

Since the beginning of 2018, Coupang’s revenue has grown every quarter, while the company remained unprofitable due to heavy investments. Coupang ended 2022 with a $100 million loss, following a $1.5 billion loss for 2021. The company made a $91 million profit for the first quarter of 2023 and a $145 million profit for the second quarter. For 2023, the price of one share of Coupang, Inc. stock changed by 4.35%, which was $0.69. The current price (February 2024) is $16.54 per share.

The company’s strategy is aimed at increasing shareholder value through large-scale investments in business development. The company intends to continue reinvesting its revenues in building new order processing centers, improving logistics, geographic expansion, and launching new services.

Coupang History

In 2010, Bom Suk Kim left Harvard Business School and founded Coupang, modeled after the Groupon discount service, two years later achieving revenues of $650 million, but changed its business model in 2012. In 2015, it raised a billion in investment from Softbank.

Coupang History

On March 15, 2021, Coupang held an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, selling 130 million shares for $35. The total volume of the offering amounted to $46 billion, setting a record for the year. By the close of the first day of trading, the capitalization was $88 billion and Coupang became the most expensive startup in South Korea.

Coupang’s initial public offering in 2021 became the largest IPO of an Asian company in the U.S. since 2014, the year Alibaba went public. Investment funds BlackRock Funds, Sequoia Capital, investors Bill Ackman and Stanley Drakenmiller have put their money into Coupang’s project.

The fortune of Bom Kim, founder of South Korean online retailer Coupang, rose to $8 billion after his company went public. Before the IPO, his fortune was estimated at $1 billion.

Coupang operates food delivery, video streaming, and payment services in markets including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, and India. In late 2023, the Company struck a deal with a group of investors who own more than 80% of Farfetch’s outstanding term loans worth $600 million. The e-commerce giant said it will combine its logistics expertise with Farfetch’s forays into selling luxury brands to expand its presence in South Korea, a fast-growing luxury market. It is known that along with Coupang, Greenoaks is investing in the deal.

Coupang Logo

Coupang Logo

The visual identity of the South Korean e-commerce giant is quite modest and friendly. The logo of the company does not emphasize the reputation and power in the region, but looks very welcoming, promising its customers a fun and easy shopping experience.

The Coupang logo is based on the lowercase inscription, set in a fancy sans-serif typeface with an interesting shape of the “G” tail. Another peculiarity of the wordmark is its color palette: the first three letters are executed in a warm chocolate-brown shade, while each of the following characters features its separate color — red, orange, green, and blue. This composition stands for a rich assortment of goods and services available on the platform.

Also, the colorful lowercase inscription is sometimes accompanied by a Coupang emblem — a bright cartoonish rocket in gradient blue, which stands for super fast and reliable delivery service.


Coupang has been around since 2010, bearing the unofficial name “South Korea’s Amazon“. The core of the business is centered around express delivery of everyday goods, but there are also employment services and food delivery from restaurants. In addition, Coupang has services such as Pay (its payment processing system) and Play. Coupang Play is a streaming platform. It was launched in December 2020, and four months later the service’s audience exceeded 1 million people.

The company has more than 100 fulfillment centers in three dozen cities. The company estimates that about 70% of the South Korean population lives within a ten-minute drive of any Coupang logistics center, which ensures fast delivery: 99.6% of orders are delivered within 24 hours.

Coupang Stock Price

Coupang stock is a good option for a long-term “buy-and-forget” investment. And here’s why. South Korea has a GDP of $1.6 trillion and an average annual per capita GDP of $31,847. Korean retail, including food and travel, was valued at $470 billion in 2019. By 2024, the market is expected to grow to $534 billion. eCommerce accounted for $128 billion in 2019 and is expected to account for $206 billion in 2024. eCommerce in South Korea thus now accounts for more than 27% of trade and will account for 38% in 2024, which is in line with East Asia’s outperformance of online sales (in the U.S. it is only 16% of total turnover). Experts estimate that Coupang accounts for about 10% of the South Korean e-commerce market.

Although the company’s share price has declined significantly since its initial public offering in early 2021, this could be a good time to invest. In the last quarter of 2022, Coupang’s revenue grew 26% in local currency, with over 18 million active customers.

Additionally, it is worth noting that Coupang is in the early stages of expanding into the global market. The company has already launched its services in Singapore and Taiwan, which could lead to additional profits in the future. Despite this, some investors are worried that the growth in the number of active users in Korea will slow down, and this could negatively affect the growth of the company as a whole.

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