|Coupang headquarters, left, and CJ CheilJedang headquarters in Seoul / Korea Times files|
By Park Jae-hyuk
Coupang is in conflict with CJ CheilJedang over the sales of the food firm's flagship Hetbahn instant rice, Bibigo dumplings and kimchi on the e-commerce firm's platform, according to industry officials, Thursday.
Last month, Coupang stopped ordering products from CJ CheilJedang.
As a result, CJ CheilJedang's products will no longer be available on Coupang's platform, once the e-commerce firm finishes selling its inventory.
Although CJ CheilJedang's products sold by independent vendors will continue to be available on Coupang's platform, the e-commerce firm itself halted direct purchases and sales of the food firm's products.
Amid growing concerns over the possibility of their dispute causing inconvenience to consumers, Coupang criticized CJ CheilJedang for requesting price hikes frequently and breaching an agreement on the supply of products.
"CJ CheilJedang's breach of promise could worsen our profitability, damaging other food firms that missed opportunities to supply their products," a Coupang official said, explaining that the company has preemptively secured workers and space to store products from its suppliers.
CJ CheilJedang, on the other hand, refuted Coupang's claim, saying that other retail channels have endured the shortage of the food firm's popular products and price hikes caused by global inflation and a strong U.S. dollar.
"Coupang seems to be threatening us to guarantee its profit margin next year," a CJ CheilJedang official said.
This is not the first time Coupang has entered a dispute with its supplier.
In 2019, LG Household & Health Care (LG H&H) was excluded from the list of suppliers that can use Coupang's "Rocket Delivery" free-next-day delivery service, after filing a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) against the e-commerce firm's request to lower the supply prices.
The antitrust agency backed the supplier and imposed a 3.3 billion won ($2.5 million) fine on Coupang in August last year. However, Coupang filed for an administrative litigation in response to the penalty.