South Korea’s online shopping mall 11st.com demerged from SK Planet Co. officially announced on Monday its fresh start as an independent e-commerce platform under the nation’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. and vowed to become the country’s leading commerce portal.
Now renamed as Eleven Street Co., the company will run mobile payment service 11 Pay and cosmetics brand Scinic. It now has more than 1,000 employees in technology, research and development, merchandising and marketing divisions housed in the new headquarters in central Seoul.
The e-commerce platform will be led by Lee Sang-ho, former head of service platform business of SK Telecom. Lee also served as a chief technology officer of SK Planet and led artificial intelligence service in SK Telecom.
“Eleven Street will become a comprehensive commerce portal that supports every shopping process,” said Lee during an inauguration ceremony on Monday. “We will work hard to provide the best service to both sellers and buyers by improving service, technology and communications with customers.”
Eleven Street, founded as 11st.com in 2008, will lead SK Group’s e-commerce business in cooperation with its parent company SK Telecom and the group’s ICT units SK Broadband and SK Planet. It will apply big data and AI technology to entire shopping processes from product searches to payment, delivery, returns and refunds, with 500 billion won ($448 million) funding it secured from outside investors in June. The NPS approved an investment of 400 billion won in the new business.
SK Group in June decided to spin off 11st.com from SK Planet as part of efforts to get ahead in the e-business competition with retail giants like Lotte and Shinsegae. The demerging plan was announced after the e-commerce platform’s talks with a Chinese private equity fund to seek 1.3 trillion won in financing fell through amid the diplomatic row with China over a missile shield. The alternative idea of creating a united e-platform by merging it with the online shopping malls of Shinsegae and Lotte also flopped due to conflicts over the stake sale.
By Baek Sang-kyung and Choi Mira
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