ECommerce in South Korea vs Taiwan

How are the giants of EC winning customers by leveraging Design, and Logistics Infrastructure.

Coupang CEO (Bom Suk Kim) on list of world’s most creative businesspeople


when it comes to e-commerce, the competition becomes fierce, especially outside of the American cluster. The e-commerce market in Asia is one of the biggest ones, ahead of the US, and then on third position comes Europe, and consecutively APAC countries.

Source: [](

Now let’s talk about more specific data in the Korean market, hence the Taiwanese one.

Introducing the main players in South Korea. on the side are displayed their homepage for Web, and their IOS applications.

Those platforms are mostly focused on Millennial customers and female targeted, except for which offers a service where it is mainly focused on supplies for the domestic food industry .


UI Displayed for Web and iOS AppStore

They have a user friendly and minimal look, with bigger images and smaller texts.

Lets look into some of what makes them differ from their competitors at the market now:

  • Offer personalized coupons, to boost user targeted sales.

  • Same-Day Service model

  • End to end customer service, meaning that they make their own deliveries. Building economies of scale, and leveraging technology makes the whole process very efficient. This is how they provide a differentiated service from the market and climbed their way to win the competition.

  • Rocket WoW Club, which offers unlimited overnight shipping service for a monthly membership fee of W2,900.

NAVER has a C2C infrastructure and wants to have a bite of Coupang market by also introducing B2C model in their business, since they have a big advantage of being the most used search engine in South Korea. This allows them to lead consumers who search for a specific kind of product to directly buy the item from them at NAVER platforms.

UI Displayed for Web and iOS AppStore

What do they have to offer differently than Coupang ?

  • They usually have special offer events and differentiated prices, such as today’s special offer and hidden price events.

  • Surpassed U$89,000 dollars in daily revenues from January to July this year.

  • WeMakePrice added WebToons/LiveStreaming to its app in order to create a more enthralling shopping experience and retain consumer traffic.

on the left In-App LiveStreaming and on the right Webtoons.


With all its other competitors in the market, Kurly decided to aim in a different direction to not get into the savage competition between other e-commerce monsters in the South Korean Market.

Focusing in the household customer sector, with products from pasta sauces, vegetables, breads and meat products; to kitchen ware utensils, and pet products.

Take Aways

What we’ve learned from them in this article is that e-commerce website designs in Korea are more likely to follow U.S. trends, with less information density in words, and more of a visually appealing “information”.

This is very different from Taiwanese EC, where information density prevail in words mostly. Korean websites also cater to global customers and hence support multiple languages in many cases. Gmarket, another e-commerce website for example, supports English and Chinese, in addition to Korean; while in Taiwan none of the platforms offer multilingual User Experience.

In my modest opinion they’re losing a lot of conversions by possible buyers, since the expat community in Taiwan is growing rapidly with the tech industry boom, attracting many foreigners to the island.

|營收 revenue|成長率 growth rate|. From Up to Down the companies listed are: PChome, EHS, Momo, and KuoBrothers.

Without great investments, and multi-angle management; medium sized e-commerce platforms will get crushed in the subsidized competition of e-commerce in Taiwan.

KuoBrothers has made almost 5 billion in revenues and an YOY revenue of 32.39% by optimizing product recommendations with AI and payment platform strategies such as Jkopay (街口電子支付).

The business group which owns GOMAJI was trying to launch their new online hotel booking services, but the result was not as ideal as they thought it would be, their YOY growth rate shranked in -18.5%. PChome at Q4 made the highest seasonal revenue record of 10.345 billion.

While Momo owned by Fubon Investment Group made revenues of 12.39 billion in 2017, in 2018 they made 42.02 billion in revenues. KuoBrothers despite the small-medium size of the company, made 1.327billion and 2018 annual revenue is 4.959 billion. Both of them made a historical record.

Source: [](

On top: The income of EC’s in Taiwan in a period of 2 years(2017–2018).

Consecutively: PChome; Eastern Media International, Momo, KuoBrothers.

We can see how important Mobile shopping is getting more and more engagement from users, and it’s expected to grow this year by more than 20%.

Mobility and convenience are crucial components of any e-commerce platform. We live in the the digital transformation era, and the retail market is transforming right now; fortunately, only us consumers can benefit from increased competition. Monthly trips to the supermarket and small markets have their days counted!

Social media also plays a big role when it comes to digital marketing and social e-commerce strategy, but I’ll reserve my comments for the next article, since the topic has a lot of potential for me to get more into it and have a deeper understanding into the EC market.