December 10, 2014 / 1:30 PM / 4 years ago

South Korea's Coupang raises $300 mln in funding

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Coupang, South Korea’s largest online retailer, said it raised $300 million in a funding round led by BlackRock Private Equity Partners.

The company, whose investors include billionaire investor Bill Ackman and Greenoaks Capital Management, offers daily deals on goods ranging from beauty products and electronics to tickets for travel and cultural events.

Founded in 2010 by Harvard dropout Bom Kim, Coupang said it planned to use the funds to expand its e-commerce offerings and engineering and R&D teams in Silicon Valley, Seattle and Seoul.

The company raised $100 million in a financing round led by Sequoia Capital in May. It did not disclose information about its revenue or profitability at the time, but said it recorded more than $1 billion of gross merchandise volume in 2013.

Coupang said on Wednesday it had nearly $500 million in cash.

The e-commerce industry has grown rapidly in South Korea, where consumers routinely buy goods ranging from toilet paper to designer handbags through their computers or smartphones.

But intense competition and resulting costs - from promotions to hiring big-name local celebrities for advertising campaigns - have raised questions about long-term profitability.

Coupang’s unlisted rival Ticket Monster, owned by Groupon Inc, has reported losses in the past four years and is seeking financial investors. WeMakePrice, another privately held rival, has also reported losses in the past three years. (Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru and Vincent Lee in Seoul; Editing by Siddharth Cavale)

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