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Coupang secures $2b investment from SoftBank

South Korean e-commerce company Coupang said Wednesday that it has secured a $2 billion investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which will be injected into consumer-first technology including its logistics network.

SoftBank’s latest investment is the largest investment amount ever received by a South Korean online retailer, according to Coupang. It comes three years after SoftBank invested $1 billion in Coupang in 2015. 

Coupang CEO Kim Bom (right) poses with SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son earlier this month at the SoftBank headquarters in Toyko. (Coupang)
Coupang CEO Kim Bom (right) poses with SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son earlier this month at the SoftBank headquarters in Toyko. (Coupang)

“Visions and leadership that Coupang CEO Kim Bom has shown is leading the South Korean e-commerce scene, also making Coupang one of the world’s most innovative companies,” said SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son in a statement. 

Founded in 2010, Coupang is the largest and fastest-growing online retailer here in terms of the number of items sold online. It offers over 120 million products, including 4 million items available for the next-day delivery through its Rocket service. As of September, an accumulated 1 billion items were delivered via the Rocket service, Coupang said.

Coupang forecasts that its sales will hit 5 trillion won ($4.42 billion) by year’s end, up from 2.6 trillion won in 2017. 

“Coupang seeks to have a revolutionary technology platform and uncompromising focus on customer delight. We believe the company is well-positioned to lead the Korean e-commerce market, with significant platform opportunities ahead, given its data, payments and logistics advantage,” said Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers and a Coupang board member.

Coupang CEO Kim Bom also vowed to continue to invest in developing Coupang’s logistics, payment platforms and data. 

“At Coupang, we are obsessed with making customers’ lives easier. We’re excited to continue our partnership with SoftBank. We are confident this investment will allow us to leverage the platforms we have created to make e-commerce and other innovations even more indispensable to our customers,” Kim said in a statement. 

Some of Coupang’s recent innovations include Rocket Fresh, a delivery service that sends organic food products to consumers within hours after purchase. The service is currently available in half of the cities in Korea. 

In October, it also launched a subscription service called Rocket Wow club, which offers free delivery of items with overnight arrivals for members only. Products can be returned anytime within 30 days after purchase, free of charge. A week after the service was launched, at least 150,000 customers signed up for membership, Coupang said.

By Kim Da-sol (