With a high smartphone and credit card penetration rate, South Korea is home to a number of powerful, well-backed e-commerce firms. These companies are all fighting for the same local pie, even though a few of them may have expanded overseas.
Here, we take a look at four top e-commerce firms in South Korea.
Founded in 2000, Gmarket was founded by Young Bae Ku, who sold the company to US-based e-commerce firm eBay for up to US$1.2 billion in 2009.
The site, available in Korean, English and Chinese, is easy to navigate and has a massive number of listings, ranging from humidifiers to desks to wedding dresses to diapers.
Sellers on the e-commerce website typically do not charge a delivery fee for orders within the country. Buyers can pay via a number of options, from bank transfer to prepaid cards to credit cards.
Meet Coupang, one of the fastest growing e-commerce firms in the world, with a valuation of US$5 billion after its most recent fundraising round led by SoftBank dated June 2015.
Its CEO Kim Bom has recently announced that the company will spend US$1.3 billion over the next two years to boost its delivery services.
The site is only available in Korean. Those who enjoy mobile shopping can also benefit from using Coupang’s dedicated apps.
WeMakePrice is a Korean e-commerce firm that has set its sights on being the number one e-marketplace in the country. However, it has hit a few roadblocks, including being sued by its rival Coupang for “negative advertising”, reported the Korea Herald.
Like the others, WeMakePrice has no specific niche or focus and sells everything from shoes to skincare products to mineral water.
Launched by SK Planet, 11st was started in South Korea, and later made it to Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.
It is available in English and Korean, and allows users to choose their preferred currency while browsing and shopping on the website.