‘Amazon of South Korea’, Coupang, to enter India

Coupang, a Seoul-based e-commerce company founded in 2010 by Bom Kim, has grown to become South Korea’s largest online marketplace. It is also incorporated in the United States, specifically in Delaware.

Coupang has gained recognition for its rapid and effective delivery system. One of its prominent services is Rocket Delivery, which guarantees overnight delivery of items ordered prior to midnight. Coupang employs its own delivery personnel to ensure swift and efficient fulfilment of orders. Softbank Vision fund, the world’s largest technology focused fund, has backed Coupang.

The South Korean company has put forth its wish to enter the Indian e-commerce market, which is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world. Officials stated, “We have received an application from the South Korean government, in which Coupang has expressed interest in entering India”.  

Following this application from the South Korean government, it has been said that the negotiations of India with the Coupang delegation should be starting next month. India has its own e-commerce giants with the homegrown Flipkart and USA based Amazon. Upon entering the Indian market Coupang would be competing with these giants who have already won the trust of Indians.

What is Coupang?

Coupang has made a distinct place for itself by featuring a special service called Rocket Deliver. This service allows users to enjoy their ordered products in their hands only a day after their order has been placed, provided the order is placed before midnight.

Coupang has a service for imported goods as well, called Rocket Direct Purchasing service. This provides the customers with their ordered imported goods withing three days after the order has been placed.

The company also has a subsidiary called ‘Coupang Eats’, which delivers foods from restaurants to customers homes, similar to Swiggy or Zomato. It also has a video-streaming platform called ‘Coupang Play’, which has gained popularity for its reasonable subscription fee when compared to giants like Netflix.

Coupang also provides temporary employment as a delivery person to anyone who id above the age of 18. This has proven advantages as the employees can chose the dates for which they wish to work and are given a stipend based on the quantity of packages delivered.

Why India?

India is quickly emerging as a highly attractive e-commerce market, yet it is considered to be relatively untapped. The FIS 2023 Global Payments Report predicts that the Indian e-commerce market will expand from $83 billion in 2022 to $150 billion by 2026.

Even with the competition of Flipkart, Amazon, and other homegrown platforms like Jiomart, by Reliance, and Tata Digital, the Indian e-commerce market is a vast ocean ripe for exploration. Coupang announced a year before that it was ceasing its operations in Japan, nearly 2 years after its launch in the nation.

Coupang stated that its failure in Japan and the consequent decision of withdrawing from the country was due its overbearing population of senior citizens. Japan harbours the world’s second largest proportion of citizens aged 65 years and over.

The senior citizens prefer to buy their supplies from in-person convenience stores and have not become friendly with technology, leading to a decline of the e-commerce market in Japan. This has proven to be opposite in India, whose population has become quite friendly with e-commerce applications as well as online payment methods.

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