Coupang will exit Japan to focus on Korea and Taiwan

Coupang has decided to pull its e-commerce business out of Japan, 21 months after it began offering its online delivery service there, a company official said Sunday.

“After testing our service as a pilot, we decided to withdraw our business from Japan,” said a Coupang Japan official.

Japan’s Nikkei daily reported Saturday that Korea’s largest e-commerce company will end its delivery service for fresh food and daily necessities in Tokyo’s Meguro and Setagaya cities on March 21.

The company operates a fast shopping service that delivers online purchases to customers in both cities within 10 minutes.

It has sold nearly 5,000 grocery items on its shopping platform in partnership with local department store Takashima and dollar store Daiso.

However, local consumers find Coupang’s service less attractive because Japan already has a convenience store business culture.

In addition, Japan has by far the highest elderly population in the world, and many of them are not used to buying groceries online. About 29.1 percent of its population is over the age of 65, according to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released in September 2022.

Instead, Coupang said it will focus its business on Korea and Taiwan.

The e-commerce company introduced its rocket delivery service to Taiwanese customers last October. It gives local consumers the choice to buy hundreds of Korean products online through a direct purchase service.

Taiwan has a high population density and is an ideal environment for running an e-commerce business. Taiwanese consumers are also very interested in Korean products due to the influence of Korean folk culture.

Seoul-based Coupang confirmed the withdrawal of its business from Japan, but declined to comment further on the matter.

Meanwhile, Coupang achieved record high sales of 26 trillion won ($19.6 billion) last year. In the third quarter of 2022, the company posted a surplus on its rocket delivery service for the first time in eight years.

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