Naver Corporation, South Korea’s top web portal operator, revealed it had formed a strategic investment in the Spanish virtual marketplace Wallapop. As part of its innovative e-commerce business expansion, Naver invested 155.8 billion ($138.9 million) in Wallapop, a leading mobile-based trading app. Currently, the mobile app provides connectivity to over 15 million users in Spain, offering a buy-and-sell platform for secondhand products and promoting sustainable consumption.
Naver made the latest investment with organizational help from venture capital firm Korelya Capital, acquiring a 10% stake in Wallapop. The Wallapop backing is Naver’s biggest investment since its acquisition of Naver Labs, formerly known as Xerox Research Centre Europe. With the Wallapop stake purchase, Naver plans to utilize cutting-edge technologies to strengthen its e-commerce services and other digital capacities.
Using AI technologies, Naver would help Wallapop develop better e-commerce properties and user experiences and design products for small businesses. Additionally, Wallapop’s CEO Rob Cassedy said that he expects the partnership with Naver to improve innovative and sustainable shopping services.
Naver’s E-commerce Expansion
“We share Wallapop’s philosophy of conscious consumption, and we are excited to support its growth with our technology and develop international synergies,” said Han Seong-sook, Naver Corporation’s CEO.
“We hope to continue discovering and investing in startups within the European ecosystem that will become the powerful allies of Naver at a global level.” According to Naver, another reason for the Wallapop collaboration is to establish connections in the growing European e-commerce sector.
Naver plans to optimize Wallapop and other European startups’ growth potentials and help them follow the shift towards a more sustainable and circular economy. Since 2016, the South Korean development company has been expanding its businesses to Europe by supporting local European startups. Previously, Naver Corp and its messaging app partner LINE joined the European technology fund, K-Fund 1.
In addition to the European market investments, Naver is also backing other mobile and online platforms. In January, Naver launched a joint venture with technology and software developer beNX, a Big Hit Entertainment subsidiary. Tentatively named ‘NaverBe,’ Naver’s collaborative project with beNX targets establishing an online live video streaming and chat service. Moreover, Naver also obtained the web novel platform Wattpad to increase its digital entertainment content and operations.
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