Coupang IPO: The Amazon of South Korea Raised $4.6 billion in The Biggest Foreign Listing Since Alibaba

On March 11, Coupang, based in Seul, made its IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “CPNG.” The company raised $4.55 billion in the largest IPO in the U.S. this year and the biggest foreign listing since Alibaba in 2014. 

After selling 130 million shares valued at $35 per share, which surged 41% to close up at $49.25 apiece, Wall Street debut gave the South Korean e-commerce giant a market cap of $84.% billion.  

Coupang IPO: The Amazon of South Korea Raised $4.6 billion
Source: Coupang's trademarks are used under license from Coupang, LLC or its affiliates.

The e-commerce giant was founded in 2010 by 42-year-old Bom Suk Kim, a Harvard Business School dropout, who has just become a multi-billionaire with more than $8.6billion net worth following the Coupang IPO, according to Bloomberg Billionaires index

Coupang, backed by high-profile investors: Softbank, BlackRock, Sequoia, Stanley Druckenmiller, Bill Ackman, seems to be a tough rival to Amazon and Alibaba.  The company started off with the Groupon type model and evolved into a third-party seller platform. The mission that consistently stood behind all the iterations is to create a world where customers wonder “How did I ever live without Coupang?”, according to IPO filing. 

According to CNBC, the e-commerce company stated in its IPO filing that it “generated nearly $12 billion in the annual revenue for 2020. That’s a 91 increase year over year. Net loss narrowed to $475 million from $699 million in 2019.”

Coupang’s business model is really disruptive and innovative what makes it a strong competitor to the largest player in the game - Amazon. It’s hard to imagine,  but the South Korean e-commerce platform offers more than Amazon. 

Lydia Jett, who is a member of Coupang’s board and an investment partner at SoftBank’s Vision Fund, encapsulated the core of Coupang in the interview for CNBC by saying ““When we talk about Coupang, what it is, it is Amazon but it is Amazon with a UPS attached to it, with DoorDash, with Instacart, with a little dash of Netflix and that is all integrated on this technology platform with an extreme degree of customer centricity.” 

Coupang’s customer centricity is incredible. Thanks to the most famous and disruptive flagship service Dawn Delivery, customers can order items as late as midnight and get the order before 7 am. Such enormous flexibility is possible because of the company’s aggressive expansion of delivery operations which led to locating distribution centers within seven-mile proximity to 70% of South Korean’s population. 

Coupang, like many e-commerce platforms, has accelerated its growth rate spiking from 2 million to 3.3 million next-day delivery orders due to the coronavirus pandemic which made lots of people start shopping online. In April, 2020, Kim Bom said “We saw a surge in demand across all categories," according to CNBC.  

Author: Justine Ilone Siporski is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-chief of BUSINESS POWERHOUSE, the founder and CEO of LANGUAGE EMPIRE, coach, trainer and columnist dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurs and the C-suite (CMOs, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs). Her key mission is to support leaders in achieving their highest potential, making the right decisions, and expanding their horizons. 

Disclosure: On the date of publication, Justine Ilone Siporski did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The article is not sponsored by Coupang.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities.