Naver Corp., South Korea’s leading search engine operator, shared its plans to reinforce its foothold in the fast-growing European e-commerce sector. Naver announced that it would be bringing Smart Store, a Naver-operated online shopping platform optimized for small merchants, to Spain.
Information technology industry sources stated that Naver aims to introduce Smart Store to Spanish markets. To this end, the South Korean tech company would acquire support for the expansion from the Spanish administration.
Aside from providing digital shopping services, Naver’s Smart Store provides small sellers with an integrated e-commerce platform. Smart Store also offers cutting-edge online transaction tools, including payment and settlement systems and more.
Helping Smaller Businesses Succeed
In March, Naver strategically formed a partnership with Wallapop, a Spanish online marketplace, with a 155-billion won ($139 million) investment. Wallapop currently supports more than 15 million users in Spain, operating a buy-and-sell platform for secondhand items and encouraging sustainability.
According to industry sources, Naver plans to help smaller businesses in Spain thrive through its Smart Store platform. Naver would also enable the participating companies to manage sales and other marketing operations on the Wallapop mobile app.
What’s more, the Barcelona-based app allows users to sell handcrafted items and resell pre-owned products. Naver also aims to merge Smart Store with Wallapop to advance its presence in the European e-commerce industry further.
Connecting Global E-Commerce Platforms
Market watchers stated that this move would give Naver considerable advantages since Wallapop is one of the largest shopping platforms in Spain. Additionally, Statista, a Germany-based consumer and market database firm, indicated that Spain’s e-commerce sector is one of the world’s biggest markets, amounting to $21.4 billion (24 trillion won) last year.
Thanks to its Spanish e-commerce foray, Naver already achieved part of its transformation into a multi-national platform operator. Naver also plans to connect its other global e-commerce-related investments.
For instance, Naver had extensively invested in Southeast Asian businesses that showed robust growth capabilities. Last year, Naver funneled more than $10 million (11.1 billion won) into iPrice, a Malaysian digital shopping service provider. Naver also invested $80 million (88.9 billion) in Carousell, a Singaporean secondhand goods marketplace.
Increasing Competition Among Domestic Firms
Industry analysts say that Naver’s Asian and European ventures exhibit its commitment to establishing a worldwide shopping network. Other South Korean companies have also shared their plans to increase their e-commerce operations, targeting overseas markets.
In April, Kakao Corp. diversified its existing business portfolio by obtaining ZigZag, a local shopping platform startup. Given the heightening competition in the e-commerce ecosystem, Kakao wanted to create synergy with promising, innovative businesses.
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