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Coupang senior job openings in Singapore spark speculation of foray into Southeast Asia

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang is hiring a small number of employees for senior positions in Singapore, a move that has been seen as part of steps to branch out into the Southeast Asian market.

The company recently posted several job openings on global recruiting site Linkedin for its office in Singapore including head of retail, head of logistics and head of operations.

It is also hiring a senior front-end engineer for its video streaming platform Coupang Play.

A Coupang representative on Tuesday refused to comment on the meaning behind the move and plans to branch out into other Southeast Asian countries.

Despite its relatively small population of 5.9 million, Singapore is seen as a strategic point for venturing out into Southeast Asia for online retailers given its location.

The country also shares similarities with South Korea in that residential areas and business districts are situated close to each other, making it easier for Coupang to experiment its distribution and logistics system.

Popular e-commerce platforms in the country include Shoppe, owned by Singapore-based consumer internet company Sea Group as well as Alibaba-backed Lazada.

The move comes after Coupang secured some 5 trillion won ($4.45 billion) in cash through the landmark initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange last month -- the largest IPO by a foreign company since China‘s Alibaba in 2014.

If speculation proves true, it will mark the first time for Coupang to branch out into another market outside South Korea, while it already has offices around the world, including in Beijing, Los Angeles, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Singapore.

In an interview with South Korean reporters following the company’s debut on the NYSE, founder and CEO Kim Bom-suk was quoted as saying South Korea is “the only top 10 global e-commerce market not controlled by Amazon or Alibaba.”

The e-commerce giant also hinted at the possibility of “entering new markets” in its IPO filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in February.

“As a result of our evolving industry and business model, our future results are uncertain and subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including our ability to plan for and model future growth, expand our business in existing markets, and enter new markets,” the report said.

Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market grew 63 percent to 69 trillion won in 2020 and is expected to reach $172 billion by 2025, according to the e-Conomy SEA 2020 report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Co.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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