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Japan’s Buyee offers BTS, K-pop goods via Korean e-tail deal

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on   2 mins read

The partnership with Delivered Korea takes aim at US and Chinese e-commerce rivals.

Japanese proxy online shopping platform Buyee has expanded its lineup of authentic South Korean K-pop goods, looking to gain an advantage against other e-commerce rivals that operate globally.

Buyee parent Beenos has acquired a 14.9% stake in Delivered Korea, the largest cross-border proxy shopper in South Korea, for an undisclosed sum.

Their tie-up gives Buyee customers access to K-pop goods listed on Delivered Korea. For example, a U.S. resident will be able to order BTS or Blackpink merchandise through Buyee’s English interface, and Delivered Korea will ship the order from South Korea to the purchaser’s address.

The service is expected to attract fans of various stripes living in the West and in Asian countries outside of Japan and South Korea. Delivered Korea also will connect customers with cosmetics and other in-demand products in South Korea.

As proxy shopping platforms, Buyee and Delivered Korea let people buy items on Japanese and South Korean e-commerce sites without knowing the language. The platforms handle the payments and shipping on behalf of the customers.

Buyee has over 4.1 million users, and its gross merchandise value in the year through June grew 33% to JPY 54 billion (USD 370 million).

The likes of Amazon and China’s Alibaba Group Holding dominate borderless e-commerce. American and Chinese platforms grabbed the top spots among recently used multinational e-commerce services in a survey by International Post Corp. that polled consumers in 39 countries.

In recent years, Chinese startups like Shein and Temu that offer affordable apparel and consumer products have grown in stature. The market for cross-border online shopping is projected to hit USD 8 trillion in 2030, or about 10 times the size in 2021, research firm Facts & Factors reports.

However, Japanese companies are struggling to gain relevance in that market. In Japan, only 2% of e-commerce shipments are bound for overseas, according to Statista, the lowest percentage among 24 countries.

Language barriers, differing price levels and the need to establish international distribution networks have kept Japanese businesses from capturing overseas demand. Beenos provides users direct access to about 400 Japanese e-commerce services, and the company looks to expand its partnerships with businesses in foreign countries.

“We aim to be an Asian cross-border e-commerce platform,” Beenos President Shota Naoi said.

Figures, video games and other products tied to the entertainment industry are in high demand on Buyee. Though Buyee falls short of Amazon and Shein for scale and price competitiveness, the platform will compete by providing official entertainment industry goods unique to Japan and South Korea, as well as high-quality pre-owned goods and niche items.

One challenge involves delivering orders to clients competitively. Transnational purchases are rising worldwide, and it has become difficult to secure affordable and reliable distribution routes. Beenos and Delivered Korea are working together on this front as well.

“In order to gain more bargaining power with logistics providers, it is necessary to expand the scale” through the Japanese-South Korean alliance, Naoi said.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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