South Korea’s e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is marking its first overseas foray by entering the Singapore market after 11 years of operation.
Coupang has apparently been seeking ways to enter Singapore since last July when it acquired Singtel’s video streaming service provider Hooq Digital Ltd.
Following news of its expansion here, the New York Stock Exchange-listed company has also started hiring rounds in Singapore.
According to its LinkedIn page, there are currently four available positions in Singapore, which was posted as early as last week. The available roles 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 been recruiting hundreds of employees in Singapore, ranging from entry level to executive positions across various functions since last month.
Joining The E-Commerce Race In SEA
Coupang has apparently been making preparations to enter the Southeast Asian market “from as early as last year“.
While Singapore is not considered a big market for e-commerce, its entry here can be seen as a beachhead for Southeast Asia.
Its expansion to Singapore could also signal its desire to compete against the Chinese and American e-commerce heavyweights.
After all, during its first post-IPO press conference, Coupang founder and CEO Kim Bom-suk revealed that the primary reason for listing his company in the US was to “compete against Amazon and Alibaba.”
Currently, the e-commerce market in Singapore is dominated by Tencent-backed Shopee, Alibaba-backed Lazada, Qoo10, Amazon and Ezbuy.
The top three companies all have their Southeast Asia regional offices in Singapore and operate in major countries in the region including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
What could help set Coupang apart from the rest is its strength in digital logistic. It offers same-day “Rocket Delivery” service in Korea, which is optimised for operations in densely populated areas.
Back home, Coupang has set up a comprehensive, digital-oriented logistics system and distribution centres close to Korea’s metropolitan areas. They might build a similar logistics system in Singapore, which is also densely populated.
Currently, same-day delivery services are not yet prevalent in Singapore, so this is where Coupang might win the upper hand.
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