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South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang narrows loss in Q1

By Park Eel-kyung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang narrows loss in Q1
E-commerce firm Coupang reduced its profit loss thanks to record sales during the first quarter of this year. Photo courtesy of Coupang

SEOUL, May 13 (UPI) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang announced it had narrowed a loss in the first quarter of this year, thanks to record sales.

The Seoul-based company, which went public in the United States last year, said Thursday its first-quarter revenue amounted to $5.1 billion, up 22% from a year ago, to net $209 million of a loss, down 29%.

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In particular, Coupang saw fast growth in its new businesses, including Coupang Eats, a food delivery system, and Coupang Play, a video streaming service.

The company's global sales stood at $181 million during the January-March period, up 65% from a year before.

"Powered by our unmatched customer experience and services, we continued to grow in the overall e-commerce segment with 32% year-on- year constant currency revenue growth," Coupang CFO Gaurav Anand said in a statement.

"We also recorded the highest gross profit and gross profit margin in the company's history, which in turn helped our product commerce segment to achieve profitability in Q1," he said.

Observers say Coupang should be able to turn a profit in the near future. Founded in 2010 by Harvard MBA dropout Kim Bom-suk, the corporation has lost billions of dollars.

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"Coupang has reduced its loss over the past few years. It is expected to turn to a profit later this year or early next year," HMC Investment & Securities analyst Kim Hyun-yong told UPI News Korea.

Coupang's stock price finished at $11.46 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Its initial public offering price was $35.

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