Coupang's Remarkable Growth a Boon for South Korean Small Businesses | Be Korea-savvy

Coupang’s Remarkable Growth a Boon for South Korean Small Businesses

The number of small business owners on Coupang has surpassed 210,000. (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

The number of small business owners on Coupang has surpassed 210,000. (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Korea Bizwire) – In a major boost for South Korea’s small businesses, Coupang, one of the country’s largest online retailers, has announced a significant milestone: the number of small business owners on its platform has surpassed 210,000, with their annual transaction volume exceeding 9 trillion won. 

This news was highlighted in Coupang’s recently published “2023 Coupang Impact Report,” which analyzed the company’s contributions in areas such as small business support, job creation, and employee welfare. 

Coupang’s platform has seen rapid growth in the number of small businesses — those with annual sales of less than 3 billion won. This number has skyrocketed from 12,000 in 2015 to 157,000 in 2021, and over 210,000 in the first half of 2023. 

The total transaction value of small businesses on Coupang also saw a dramatic increase, from 4.1 trillion won in 2019 to 9.18 trillion won in 2022. Notably, 72% of these transactions in 2022 were from regions outside Seoul, indicating a broad geographic impact. 

In support of small businesses, Coupang invested over 680 billion won in 2022. The company’s Rocket Growth program, launched in the first half of 2023, has already attracted over 12,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. This service allows sellers to stock their products at Coupang’s warehouses, where the company handles packaging, rapid delivery, and customer service.

Coupang’s expansion into Taiwan in 2022 also opened new export opportunities for small businesses. Currently, approximately 67% of the sellers in Taiwan’s Rocket Direct Purchase program are small business owners, who have exported over 180,000 items this year through the platform. 

Coupang explained that while individual small business owners face numerous challenges entering foreign markets, such as establishing corporations and hiring local staff, Coupang’s one-stop service covers everything from customs to inventory management, delivery, and customer service.

Moreover, the number of small and medium-sized manufacturers creating products for Coupang’s own brand (PB) increased by 137% year-over-year, supplying over 14,000 product categories to Coupang. 

Coupang’s report also highlighted its employment impact: as of the first half of 2023, the company employed over 60,000 workers, making it the third-largest employer in South Korea. When including indirect employment, Coupang contributed to creating over 440,000 jobs. Half of Coupang’s employees in 2022 were women, and one in three employees were young people (ages 19-34) as of the first half of 2023.

Furthermore, since its founding, Coupang has invested 6.2 trillion won in building a national logistics network, including over 320 billion won in constructing one of Asia’s largest logistics centers in Daegu. From 2019 to 2022, this center alone employed more than 1,600 new workers.

Ashley Song ( 

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