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Coupang’s Sourcing Power: A New Approach to the Chinese Market

Photo by Denys Nevozhai / Unsplash

Coupang is changing its approach to the Chinese market.

Through an analysis of Coupang's career website, LinkedIn, and KIPRIS by the South Korean government, it was found that the company focuses on sourcing in the Chinese market instead of selling its products directly.

Coupang's Chinese website must be fixed and linked to the company's career website like its US website.

However, Coupang has an R&D center in Shanghai, and about 175 employees work in the Shanghai office, primarily in software engineering and data science.

In addition, the company recently registered and applied for a Chinese trademark, Gou ban 购伴, which means "buying partner" in Chinese.

Coupang's entry into the Chinese market aims to strengthen its private label products and compete with local e-commerce players like Naver rather than selling directly to Chinese consumers.

This approach seems influenced by the lessons from Amazon's failed attempts to gain a significant share of the Chinese market.

After 15 years of trying, Amazon secured less than 1% of the market and launched its Amazon Global Selling program in China instead.

Coupang's focus on sourcing in the Chinese market could also help the company improve its financial results by reducing sourcing costs.

As the company prepares to go public on the NASDAQ, it must demonstrate a stable business model to its auditors.

A successful entry into the Chinese market could also boost Coupang's valuation.

However, a relative within Coupang has stated that trademark applications for the Chinese market are still at the idea level, indicating that the company's approach to the market may still be subject to change.