‘Amazon Of Korea’ Coupang Enters Singapore’s E-Commerce Market

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. marks its first foray overseas by entering the Singapore market after 11 years in business.

Coupang has apparently been looking for ways to enter Singapore since last July, when it acquired Singtel’s video streaming service provider Hooq Digital Ltd.

Following the announcement of its expansion here, the New York Stock Exchange-listed company has also started recruiting in Singapore.

According to his LinkedIn page, there are currently four positions available in Singapore, which was posted as early as last week. Positions available include Head of Retail, Head of Logistics, Head of Operations and Senior Front-End Engineer (for Coupang Play).

However, the Korea Economic Daily reported that Coupang has recruited hundreds of employees in Singapore, ranging from entry level to managerial positions in various functions since last month.

Join the SEA e-commerce race

Image Credit: PitchBook

Coupang has apparently been preparing to enter the Southeast Asian market “since last year”.

Although Singapore is not considered a big market for e-commerce, its entry here can be seen as a foothold for Southeast Asia.

Its expansion in Singapore could also signal its desire to compete with the Chinese and American heavyweights in e-commerce.

After all, during his first post-IPO press conference, Coupang founder and CEO Kim Bom-suk revealed that the main reason for his company listing in the United States was to “compete with Amazon and Alibaba ”.

e-commerce singapore
Main e-commerce platforms in Singapore / Image credit: Statista

Currently, the e-commerce market in Singapore is dominated by Shopee backed by Tencent, Lazada backed by Alibaba, Qoo10, Amazon and Ezbuy.

The top three companies all have their Southeast Asian regional offices in Singapore and operate in major countries in the region, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

What could help Coupang stand out from the crowd is its strength in digital logistics. It offers same-day “rocket delivery” service in Korea, optimized for operations in densely populated areas.

Back home, Coupang set up a complete, digitally-focused logistics system and distribution centers close to metropolitan areas of Korea. They could build a logistics system similar to Singapore, which is also densely populated.

Currently, same day delivery services are not yet prevalent in Singapore, so this is where Coupang could gain the upper hand.

Featured Image Credit: Business Wire

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Jothi Venkat

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