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Coupang, the Amazon of South Korea, debuts on NYSE

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The biggest IPO in years is rolling out on the New York Stock Exchange where Coupang, the South Korean equivalent of Amazon in the U_S_, or Alibaba in China, will begin trading under the ticker “CPNG.”

Coupang has raised about $4.6 billion, outsizing last month’s $2 billion capital raise by the dating app Bumble.

Coupang priced 130 million shares at $35 each, valuing the company at about $60 billion, according to regulatory filings.

That big price tag reflects the recognition of how vastly the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping.

Amazon’s fourth-quarter revenue shattered records, blowing past the $100 billion level for the first time, to reach $125.56 billion. Target and Walmart have also aggressively pushed into online sales. Target said this month that online sales soared 118% during the critical holiday quarter.

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That has helped to push Coupang’s asking price for a share higher, from the initial range of between $27 and $30, to between $32 and $34, and now $35 each. The company also bumped up the number of shares it is offering because of strong demand by 10 million, for a total of 130 million shares.

Revenue growth at Coupang has been explosive, jumping from $900 million in the first quarter of 2018, to $3.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Coupang says it’s already the third-largest employer in Korea, adding almost 25,000 new jobs last year. Its goal is to create 50,000 new jobs in Korea by 2025.

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