Coupang, South Korea's leading e-commerce company, said Tuesday its value of mobile payment transactions reached 1.4 trillion won ($1.27 billion) in 2014, lending weight to a market bet that the firm is close to going pubic.
The value of payment transactions made via mobile devices means more than a twofold on-year surge for the IT startup, wholly-owned by Forward Ventures Co. headquartered in Delaware, United States.
Forward Ventures was set up in 2010 by Coupang founder Kim Beom-suk, a Harvard Business School graduate, who industry watchers say established his company there rather than in Korea to get more funding.
Coupang raised $300 million from a consortium led by U.S. asset manager BlackRock late last year, which came seven months after it received a financing of $100 million from a U.S. venture Sequoia Capital in May.
The brisk growth of Coupang makes the scenario that its initial public offering has drawn near now more plausible.
Kim had already said in 2011 that he was willing to have Coupang listed and has only to decide which bourse. Many analysts have bet that it would be the NASDAQ rather than a Seoul peer, citing the location of its headquarters, among other factors.
Coupang has grown rapidly on the back of a strong mobile shopping trend in Korea, with annual transactions spiking from 180 billion won in 2012 and 600 billion in 2013.
Coupang said its mobile traffic accounted for 71 percent of last year's total, illustrating the e-commerce trend has shifted to buying things through smartphones.
The transaction value of mobile shopping in South Korea stood at 14.8 trillion won as of end-December, up 126 percent from a year earlier, according to data by Statistics Korea. That compares with a 17.5 percent on-year gain for the country's online shopping over the cited period. (Yonhap)