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Amazon steps into South Korean e-commerce through SKT

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The e-commerce subsidiary of South Korean telco SK Telecom has entered into a distribution and investment deal with Amazon.

Confirming the news, the two companies said the collaboration would pave the way for Amazon to distribute via 11st and would further see the US tech giant purchase shares in 11st’s planned IPO.

The IPO was announced in February when SKT said it would spin off five non-mobile business units: ADP Caps, SK Broadband, One Store, 11 Street and Wave.

According to the latest reports, Amazon is now planning to purchase up to 30% of 11st’s shares, depending on performance.

In a statement, 11st said the partnership will focus on “creating synergies with Amazon in diverse ICT-related business areas including ecommerce to improve customer convenience and boost overall growth.”

It continued: “Together with Amazon, we expect to offer an unrivalled experience to customers in Korea. Through this close collaboration, we will make efforts to provide customers with differentiated benefits soon.”

The collaboration is tipped by the two companies to pave the way for 11st to develop a global distribution hub and offer Amazon’s ecommerce products to customers in Korea. 11st also said it would be working to develop “greater business opportunities for Korean sellers”.

In October, GlobalData estimated South Korea’s e-commerce industry to be worth US$90.1 billion in 2020, with annual growth of 22.3% this year and CAGR of 12% expected in the coming years.

 Additional research published by Euromonitor International puts South Korea as world’s third largest ecommerce market by 2024, up from fifth place in 2019.

Launched 12 years ago, 11st is debuted in China in 2015 and the cross-border platform 11st Global followed in September 2017.

11st’s statement continued: “With more than 12 years of experience in operating one of the largest online marketplaces in Korea, along with its potential synergies with SKT, 11st is well-positioned to deliver a differentiated shopping experience. 11st and Amazon will share more details with customers when the service is ready to be launched.”

 

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