Coupang, the biggest online retailer in South Korea, is often compared to Amazon. Founded in 2010 by Korean-American billionaire Bom Kim as a Groupon-like platform, the company pivoted  to an e-commerce marketplace and has since grown exponentially , making a name for itself primarily through same-day and next-day delivery. In 2014, Coupang raised $300 million, largely from US investors, followed by a $3 billion cash injection  from SoftBank in 2015 and 2018. The company ranked second place on the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, and debuted on the New York Stock Exchange the next year, wherein its stock price surged 40%.
A central component of Coupang’s appeal is its speed. The company claims that 99.3% of the orders are delivered within 24 hours from purchase, and their warehouses, or “fulfillment centers,” are so ubiquitous that allegedly 70% of South Koreans live within seven miles of one. In 2019, they introduced Dawn Delivery, where orders made before midnight were guaranteed to be delivered by 7 am.
Like Amazon, Coupang has come to rely heavily on the Rocket Wow Membership, their equivalent of Amazon Prime. For under $3 a month, Rocket Wow subscribers can get fast delivery and special offers, such as exclusive discounts on certain products. In part due to its focus on low-cost service, the company was losing money for years since the launch of Rocket Delivery in 2014, before it turned a profit for the first time in the third quarter of 2022, logging $90.7 million in net income, a dramatic turnaround from previous year’s $324 million in net loss.
In recent years, Coupang has become much more than an e-commerce company, although it does not have any physical stores like Amazon. It launched Coupang Play, a content streaming service, and shortly after, Coupang Logistics, aiming to distribute packages not only for Coupang but for other e-commerce companies. According to Philip Lee, a researcher, the company’s foray  into new industries is not over. “I think [Coupang] will evolve into every industry, even travel and car rental,” Lee said in an interview with Modern Retail. The question remains of which industries, and which foreign markets, if any, Coupang will enter in the future.