Coupang Inc., the largest South Korean online retailer, announced that it had begun its global expansion by introducing its platform to Japan. In particular, Coupang is currently conducting trial operations for its delivery services in the country.
At present, Japan ranks as the world’s fourth-largest e-commerce market, closely following behind China, the US, and the UK. Coupang’s Japanese operation also marks its first overseas e-commerce venture, further advancing its international growth.
Previously in March, Coupang’s IPO listing in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) generated favorable results, raising around $4.6 billion. After Coupang’s NYSE debut, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., a major Coupang backer, said that SoftBank plans to bring the South Korean e-commerce giant to Japan.
The Japanese conglomerate’s CEO also stated that SoftBank would collaborate with Yahoo to bring Coupang’s services to Japan. According to Coupang, its overseas e-commerce expansion would significantly improve its profit structure and widen its growth potential.
Taking its High-Speed Delivery Services to Foreign Markets
Moreover, Coupang launched its pilot services in selected areas around Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. Besides delivering fresh food, Coupang’s Japanese platform offers a wide range of daily necessities. Some Coupang delivery service items include over 70 fruit and vegetable types, meat, and bento lunch boxes.
Furthermore, users could access Coupang’s new trial deliveries using a mobile app. The Seoul-based company also used small infrastructures as distribution hubs that begin deliveries immediately after receiving orders from nearby customers. Coupang’s Japanese services aim to deliver customers’ orders to their doorsteps within an hour, unlike its home market operations.
Meanwhile, the company’s Rocket Delivery platform in South Korea provides same-day and next-day delivery services. Coupang also broadened the scope of its Rocket Delivery by establishing large-scale distribution hubs throughout South Korea.
Providing Customized Delivery Methods
However, Coupang encountered challenges in applying its home market model to its neighboring country, which still prefers in-person business transactions. Therefore, Coupang secured smaller-sized warehouse-type buildings and offered work to delivery riders who walk or utilize bicycles and motorcycles.
The pandemic also altered the Japanese market’s preferences, popularizing non-face-to-face, online reception. For instance, other e-commerce platforms have added contactless delivering options, enabling users to receive packages with added safety.
Coupang said that although it started small-scale market testing in Japan, it remains uncertain when to launch its services officially. Separately, Coupang shared its plans to introduce its high-speed overnight delivery platform to Singapore. The company stated that this move would considerably boost its Southeast Asian market footing.
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