On March 11, Coupang (NYSE:CPNG) launched its IPO, which was the largest foreign company offering since Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) came public in 2014 (the amount raised was a hefty $25 billion). On the first day of trading CPNG stock surged 41%. The company raised roughly $4.6 billion.
Yet CPNG stock has since come under some pressure. The shares have gone from a high of $69 to $43. The market capitalization is currently at about $74.6 billion.
Even though Coupang is a fairly young company – having been founded in 2010 – it has become the largest ecommerce platform in South Korea. Some of its main rivals include Blibli, Jollychic and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), which may be interested in exiting the market.
So with the CPNG stock down, might now be a good time to consider a purchase? Well, let’s take a look.
For Coupang, the goal is to have its customers say, “How did I ever live without Coupang?” And yes, the company has done a standout job in helping to answer this question!
Coupang invested heavily in building a world-class platform. For the most part, it is about not making the typical compromises for ecommerce, such as for customers to choose between fast shipping and low costs.
To do this, Coupang has created a premium subscription service similar to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime. It is called Rocket Wow and allows for great delivery options. For example, there is an offering where customers can get shipments within hours as late as midnight and before 7 a.m. This is available for millions of items.
Something else: Over 75% of parcels delivered have zero packing. This means more convenience but also a positive impact on the environment.
OK, then what about returns? Coupang has a frictionless system for this. There is no need to put an item in a box or label it. Instead, a customer just leaves the product outside his or her door.
Keep in mind that the delivery infrastructure includes 25 million square feet of warehouse space across 30 cities in Korea. About 70% of the country’s population is within seven miles of a fulfillment center. Coupang developed its own transportation network, which has about 15,000 full-time drivers (this is the largest delivery fleet in Korea).
Sophisticated IT has also been critical. Coupang developed artificial intelligence and machine learning systems to handle the dynamic changes in demand and optimize inventory, which have been essential for good customer service.
No doubt, this infrastructure has proven effective for other categories. For example, there is Coupang Eats, which is a food delivery system that’s similar to DoorDash (NYSE:DASH). Then there is Rocket Fresh, which is for the delivery of groceries.
And another big driver for growth is third-party sellers. Coupang’s MyStore makes it possible for businesses to sell to a base of 15 million customers.
Bottom Line on CPNG stock
The market opportunity is definitely large for the company. Korea has the fourth-largest economy in Asia and the e-commerce sector is expected to see significant growth. The estimate is for spending to go from $128 billion in 2019 to $206 by 2024, which amounts to a 10% compound annual growth rate. Korea has advantages like high mobile penetration, a thriving middle class and ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet.
Granted, there are risks factors for investors to keep in mind. After all, the company has accelerated the expiration of the lockup on CPNG shares. This will make 34 million shares available for sale by insiders.
Next, the valuation on CPNG stock is still not cheap. Note that the shares trade at 6x sales. By comparison, Amazon is at 4x.
Yet Coupang is growing much faster and is far from a knock-off. The company has been quite innovative. So all in all, for those investors looking to get exposure to the ecommerce megatrend outside the U.S., CPNG stock is a good way to do this.
On the date of publication, Tom Taulli held a long position in CPNG.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is the author of various books on investing and technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, High-Profit IPO Strategies and All About Short Selling. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s.