Korean EC giant Coupang struggles to shake broken IPO moniker

With revenues exceeding $12bn (2020) and a market share exceeding 25% in Korea, Coupang is no minnow.

The company operates a marketplace for home goods, apparel, beauty, electronics and a fresh business (called Rocket Fresh).

Like Amazon, it also has an advertising business which has blossomed spectacularly.

The only sour note is the share price which is now $22 far below its March ’21 IPO of $35.

Despite the stellar top line (2020 revenues were almost double 2019), the company has yet to make a profit. Its gross margin is 16% and despite automation, the company employs over 50,000.

Photo: The Korean Herald

That seems to be the rub frazzling investors. With Covid rampant, running costs are soaring. The fresh food business is also capital intensive.

Cloud computing has been a saviour for Amazon’s financials. Perhaps Coupang can develop a close equivalent?

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