Monday, 20 September 2021

Coupang raises $4.6 billion in biggest US IPO this year

5 min read

By Kevin Luarca

Coupang has raised $4.6 billion making it one of the biggest share offering by an Asian company on a US exchange

  • Coupang raised $4.6 billion in its US market debut
  • Coupang gained market dominance due to its guaranteed same-day or next day delivery service
  • Other e-commerce players in South Korea are scaling up in order to compete with Coupang's success

South Korea’s e-commerce platform, Coupang, successfully made its US market debut after it raised $4.6 billion, the biggest share offering in the country this year.

It was also the biggest US initial public offering (IPO) by a foreign issuer since Alibaba Group Holding in 2014.

Coupang’s IPO trading in the New York Stock Exchange opened at $63.50 per share and closed at $49.25 per share. This gave the company a market capitalisation of $84.47 billion. It now ranks as South Korea’s second largest publicly-held company behind Samsung Electronics.

The Softbank-backed company priced its shares at $35 per share, already above its original target of $32 to $34.

Bom Kim, Coupang founder and CEO, said, "We were fortunate to have demands from a lot of investors and we didn't have room for all of the capitalists out there".

The strong response was attributed to Coupang’s significant presence in South Korea’s e-commerce market which was further strengthened by the increased demand due to COVID-19 pandemic. Coupang declared $12 billion in revenue last year.

Coupang is known for its guaranteed same-day or next-day delivery service which was made possible by its more than 100 logistics and fulfilment centres in 30 cities and over 15,000 drivers. It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to figure out the fastest route for its deliveries.

Coupang launched OneTouch Payment which allows customers to skip authentication processes and confirm payment with just a tap on their mobile devices. The company strengthened its fraud detection system by keeping track of the purchasing habits of its customers and prompting for additional information if a purchase was made out of the customer’s usual habits.

Softbank, which owns 35.1% of Coupang, now has a $28 billion stake in the company. Softbank initially invested $1 billion in 2015 and another $2 billion in 2018.

Coupang’s successful US IPO has prompted other e-commerce players in South Korea to scale up.

Naver, which owns messaging and payments platform LINE, has announced that it is in talks to form a partnership with retailer E-Mart. Naver is eyeing to include the latter’s fresh produce into its catalogue and tap its shipping know-how. eBay Korea was also offloaded by its parent company and is now open for acquisition. Kakoa Corp and Lotte Group have so far announced interest in eBay Korea.



Keywords: Ipo, E-Commerce, Online Shopping, Deliveries
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