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SoftBank to invest US$1 billion in Korean online retailer Coupang

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SoftBank Corp will invest US$1 billion in South Korean online retailer Coupang as billionaire Masayoshi Son expands his overseas e-commerce investments to tap new growth.

TOKYO - SoftBank Corp will invest US$1 billion in South Korean online retailer Coupang as billionaire Masayoshi Son expands his overseas e-commerce investments to tap new growth.

A unit of SoftBank will make the investment, which will close at the start of July, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Coupang is the largest standalone e-commerce company in South Korea, it said.

Mr Son has said SoftBank is entering a global expansion stage and last month promoted Nikesh Arora to president to lead the push. The company's e-commerce investments already include Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, India's Snapdeal.com and Yahoo Japan Corp.

The Japanese carrier will buy new shares issued by the retailer, said Mitsuhiro Kurano, a spokesman at SoftBank. The company declined to disclose the percentage of Coupang's shares it will own after the purchase.

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Mr Son has said he plans to take stakes of 30 per cent to 40 per cent in Internet companies based in Asia as he seeks to follow up his success with Alibaba, an investment currently valued at about US$70 billion. SoftBank already has stakes in about 1,300 companies, including about 32 per cent of Alibaba.

Mr Arora will join the board of Coupang.

Coupang raised US$300 million in funding in December, which increased its valuation to more than $2 billion, a person familiar with the deal said at the time. The company had more than 2,000 employees and offices in Korea, Shanghai, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, it said in December.

Mobile sales account for more than 75 per cent of Coupang's revenue.

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