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Coupang Celebrates Landmark Year with First Annual Operating Profit

South Korea's e-commerce giant Coupang marks a historic achievement with robust growth in sales, memberships, and expansion plans
South Korea
c CPNG Blue Chip 150 Tech 350 OM 60
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South Korean leading e-commerce platform Coupang Inc. has announced a groundbreaking operating profit of $473 million for fiscal year 2023, marking the company’s first ever annual profit since its inception. Total net revenue increased 20% to $24.4 billion in 2023, propelled by a strong increase in sales, active customer base and paid memberships for its fast delivery and streaming services.

Fourth quarter 2023 operating profit grew 51% year-over-year to $130 million, extending six quarters of profitability in a row. This is due to the overwhelming interest in the company`s WOW membership program — which includes benefits such as exclusive retail savings, food delivery from Coupang Eats and endless streaming content on Coupang Play. The end of 2023 saw the number of paid WOW members grow to 14 million — a 27% increase — and that of active customers to over 21 million for that quarter alone up 16% year-on-year, solidifying its position as the leader of South Korea`s e-commerce space.

“We have yet to scratch the surface of the large total addressable market in retail in South Korea and Taiwan which is far larger than the current e-commerce market opportunity, and where we continue to have modest market share. That said, we are at the very early stages of realizing the extensive consumer, supply and fulfillment network effects that we have built,” said CFO Gaurav Anand Coupang `s aggressive growth trajectory has seen it move into its first international market after launching just a decade ago and expanding into Taiwan in 2022.

The company’s core Product Commerce segment increased net revenue 18% to $23.6 billion in fiscal year 2023 with an adjusted EBITDA of $1.5 billion, while its Developing Offerings segment, which includes Coupang Eats, Coupang Pay, Coupang Play, and its operations in Taiwan, saw its revenue grow 26% to $789 million.

Coupang did face challenges with its Developing Offerings segment which had a negative adjusted EBITDA of $150 million for the year. However, its 2023 financial windfall and strategic expansions show that this company is resilient and has a lot more growth to give in an ever-changing global e-commerce space.

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