SoftBank's Son is considering bringing Coupang services to Japan

SoftBank-backed Coupang raised about US$4.6 billion earlier this month in the biggest US initial public offering this year. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son said on Monday (March 29) the conglomerate is considering bringing services from South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang to Japan.

SoftBank-backed Coupang raised about US$4.6 billion (S$6.2 billion) earlier this month in the biggest US initial public offering this year, after it made a splash in South Korea with its "Rocket Delivery" service promising delivery within 24 hours.

"We're discussing with the guys at Yahoo Japan about it. We've started considering whether it could be done in Japan too," Mr Son said in a television interview late on Monday.

SoftBank has a history of importing foreign technology into Japan, including launching the Yahoo Japan web portal in the 1990s and the recent rapid expansion of payments app PayPay, which uses technology from SoftBank Vision Fund portfolio company Paytm.

SoftBank said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr Son's comments meant that providing a similar service to Coupang was being considered, not that Coupang would launch in Japan.

A spokesman for Z Holdings, parent of Internet business Yahoo Japan, said the company was not actively considering introducing such services.

SoftBank's Vision Fund markets itself to potential investments as offering a gateway to Japanese markets. Z Holdings completed a merger with chat app operator Line this month.

A recovery in valuations at the US$100 billion Vision Fund after high-profile stumbles was underscored at Coupang's New York debut earlier this month. SoftBank holds a 37 per cent stake in Coupang, which has a market cap of US$79 billion.

Z Holdings operates the PayPay Mall shopping site, part of a major expansion in e-commerce where it competes with Amazon and Rakuten.

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