Coupang has been the role model for success in the Korean startup industry for quite some time now. It is the #1 South Korean e-commerce site for the last few years running. However they will be taking a huge hit this year and it is clear that their mission to expand faster then their revenue stream can afford was a mistake. They were reported by many news outlets to have lost more than $300 million in operating costs. Their sales have never been better as they focused more on improving their delivery service and making it easier for customers to purchase on online marketplaces.
Based on these large gain in sales many feel Coupang is expanding too rapidly. Can they expect this trend in sales to continue? Will there be a new e-commerce site that emerges? They have been making large investments and is looking to create a large network by hiring more and more staff as well as office locations all across Korea.
Coupang will continue to improve their already excellent same day delivery service. They realize that customers want instant gratification and if they can keep improving the delivery time then other e-commerce sites will not be able to compete. This is the thinking behind Coupangs Rocket Delivery service which have their own couriers. This will mean nothing if Amazon gains traction in Korea. Then all their investments would have been for nothing, competing with a global giant like Amazon will not be easy. Coupang is looking to be the king which means they will need to continue to expand, recently they announced that they would hire 4,000 employees by 2017.
As Coupang continues to expand this aggressively, it starts to become very clear that they are worried that Amazon might take their place as the #1 e-commerce site in Korea. Is it a mistake that they are focusing so much on same day delivery and less on product? Could this be the start of the fall of Coupang?