Coupang to ramp up investment in Taiwan after four quarters of profits

Coupang, a South Korea-headquartered e-commerce company, said it will accelerate its investment in Taiwan after four straight quarters of profits. Coupang was the most downloaded app in the second quarter of this year in Taiwan, the company said in an earnings call on Wednesday. 

“Taiwan is another investment that is thus far exceeding our expectations,” said chief executive officer of Coupang Bom Kim said in its conference call. “We have always believed that the transformational commerce experience we’ve enabled in Korea could delight customers around the world. We’re seeing this play out in Taiwan.” 

Coupang’s next-day delivery service, Rocket Delivery, grew faster in Taiwan in the ten months since it launched than Rocket Delivery in Korea did in the first ten months, the company CEO said. 

Coupang has set aside about $400 million this year to invest in Taiwan and its developing offering unit that operates non-core businesses, such as Coupang Play (video streaming), Coupang Eats (food delivery) and Coupang Pay (fintech). 

The move comes months after Coupang ceased its operation in Japan in March and denied rumors that the e-commerce company planned to enter India in May

“Our bar for new initiatives is high,” Kim said. “We’ve exited investments that didn’t meet our internal thresholds and deferred countless others that rank below our most attractive opportunities. So far, Taiwan is leaping over that bar. In view of that progress, we will invest at a higher level in Taiwan this year.” 

Coupang’s core business, product commerce, posted $5.6 billion in net revenues in 2Q23, up 21% from a year ago. The product commerce unit includes Rocket Delivery and Coupang marketplace, an e-commerce platform connecting buyers and sellers directly. Its developing offerings unit generated $156.29 million in revenues in the second quarter of this year, 2% down from a year ago, according to the company’s financial report.

“Both revenue and active customers increased at a faster pace this quarter,” Kim said.  “And our emerging merchant services like advertising and Fulfillment and Logistics by Coupang, or FLC, are growing more than twice as fast as our overall business.”  

Coupang claims its active customer growth continues, with 19.7 million active users in 2Q23, up 10% year on year. Earlier this year, the U.S.-listed e-commerce company opened its biggest fulfillment center in Daegu, South Korea, with an army of robots working the logistics center. 

SoftBank’s Vision Fund-backed company reported a net income of $145 million for 2Q23, up 32% from its loss of $75.4 million in the second quarter of 2022. 

The company expects its newer categories, like fashion and beauty products on the rocket delivery platform and unlimited discounts on Coupang Eats for Wow membership, akin to Amazon.com’s Prime, to boost its profitability. 

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