The Korea Herald


Coupang, LG Chem narrow gap with global No. 1 firms

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Aug. 5, 2020 - 14:35

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Seven Korean companies, including Coupang and LG Chem, have narrowed their revenue gap with global No. 1 companies over the past five years, data showed Wednesday.

Local corporate tracker CEOScore surveyed revenues of the world’s No. 1 companies and No. 1 firms in Korea in their respective fields from 2014 to 2019.

The results showed that Korean companies narrowed the sales gap with the global No. 1 companies compared to five years ago in seven industries: including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, automobiles, food and beverage, retail and cosmetics.

The industry with the highest sales growth rate during the period was e-commerce.

The nation’s largest e-commerce firm, Coupang saw sales jump 1,952 percent from 348.5 billion won ($293 million) in 2014 to 7.1 trillion won in five years. Amazon, the global No. 1 player in the sector, posted 326.9 trillion won in sales last year, up 248.9 percent from 93.7 trillion won five years ago. The gap between Coupang and Amazon narrowed to 45.7 times from 268.9 times.

In the food and beverage sector, sales of CJ CheilJedang increased 91 percent while Nestle increased 3 percent, narrowing the gap from 9 times to 4.9 times. In the pharmaceuticals and retail areas, revenues of Yuhan Corp. and E-mart increased 45.5 percent and 44.9 percent, respectively, closing the gap with the global No. 1 companies in the areas.

In the chemical sector, sales of LG Chem increased 26.8 percent while the global No. 1 BASF decreased 25.6 percent, reducing the difference in sales from 4.6 times to 2.7 times.

In other areas, cosmetics (Amorepacific, 44 percent), logistics (Hyundai Glovis, 31.2 percent), tobacco (KT&G, 20.7 percent), automobiles (Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, 20.2 percent) and insurance (Samsung Life Insurance, 16 percent) recorded double-digit sales growth.

In the semiconductors industry, Samsung Electronics and Intel are competing in a tight range. Compared to sales five years ago and last year, Samsung Electronics’ chip division increased 63.5 percent from 39.7 trillion won to 64.9 trillion won while Intel’s semiconductor division increased 42.6 percent from 58.8 trillion won to 83.8 trillion won. Although Samsung lagged behind Intel in 2014 and 2019, it ranked first in global sales for two years, in 2017 and 2018.

In the case of search portals, Naver grew 139 percent from 2.7 trillion won to 6.5 trillion won, recording a three-digit growth rate. However, revenues of Alphabet, which operates Google, increased 171.4 percent from 69.5 trillion won to 188 trillion won, widening the gap in sales.

Meanwhile, this year large tech firms have expanded their businesses related to digital content and online services in line with the rising demand on non-face-to-face services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released by the nation’s antitrust watchdog on the day.

Kakao expanded its content business by acquiring real-time communication Remote Monster while its entertainment unit Kakao M purchased three broadcast production companies. Netmarble also acquired Keyring Studio, an animation film and video production company.

Naver newly established Webtoon Entertainment Korea, an internet information service company, and NF Insurance Service, an insurance service company based on an online platform. 

By Shin Ji-hye (