A general view shows the warehouse of South Korean online delivery service Coupang, in Bucheon, south of Seoul. Photo: AFP/Ed Jones

South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang has raised US$4.2 billion in its initial public offering that makes it the biggest listing in the United States so far this year.

The Seoul-based firm, backed by Japan’s SoftBank, has shaken up the South Korean retail sector since launching 11 years ago with a platform guaranteeing same-day delivery, which helped turn it into the tech-savvy nation’s online market leader. 

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission submitted Wednesday, Coupang said it had sold 120 million shares in the IPO at $35 apiece – above its initial target range of $27-$30 – giving it a market value of $60 billion.

It will debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol CPNG. 

The blockbuster listing – the biggest in New York since Alibaba’s US record $25 billion offering in 2014 – will make an overnight billionaire of founder Kim Bom-suk, with the 42-year-old CEO’s 10% holding worth about $6 billion. 

SoftBank, Coupang’s biggest shareholder, also stands to make $16 billion, according to Bloomberg News. The Japanese conglomerate invested $1 billion in the firm in 2015, in a deal that valued it at $5 billion. That was followed three years later by another $2 billion funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which said the firm was worth $9 billion, Bloomberg said.

With many flocking to shop online during the coronavirus pandemic, the e-commerce giant’s net revenue jumped 91% on-year to $11.9 billion in 2020.

But its combined net losses for the fiscal years from 2018 to 2020 came in at more than $2.2 billion, said the filing, which added: “We may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or maintain profitability in future periods.”