Coupang Vows to Accelerate Expansion Even as Losses Triple

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Coupang Inc., South Korea’s leading e-commerce company, said it would accelerate its expansion after raising capital in a March initial public offering, despite a surge in losses in its first quarter as a public company.

Its net loss increased to $295 million in the March quarter, compared with $105.3 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 74% to $4.2 billion. Shares fell about 6% in late U.S. trading.

Bom Kim, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a conference call after the results that he planned to build on the company’s lead in fast deliveries and broad selections. Coupang aims to add 50% to its e-commerce infrastructure in a single year, compared with what it built since its founding in 2010.

“To understand Coupang, we begin with our mission: To create a world where customers wonder how did I ever live without Coupang,” he said on the call. “Historically, online shopping has forced customers to choose between amazing service, low prices and broad collection. We aim to break these trade-offs.”

In South Korea, Coupang is known for speed and selection. Customers can order same-day delivery of millions of items, and have their purchases waiting for them at 7 a.m., including perishables like milk.

“How convenient was our service if customers could get every branded cereal on Rocket but still have to drive out to a store for milk?” Kim said.

Coupang has pledged to invest total 800 billion won ($708 million) and hire 6,500 workers to construct logistics facilities in South Korea after it raised $3.5 billion in its March IPO.

The company’s shares rose as high as $69 after it went public at $35, but they have since fallen back to close Wednesday $35.33.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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