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Alibaba helps Korean grocery pioneer take K-food to Singapore

Alibaba helps Korean grocery pioneer Market Kurly take K-food to Singapore
Singaporeans will be able to buy Market Kurly’s ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals from Wednesday via the Lazada app. (PHOTO: Bloomberg) (Bloomberg)

By Yoolim Lee and Sohee Kim

(Bloomberg) —Market Kurly became South Korea’s first billion-dollar online grocery app by delivering fresh produce to customers’ doorsteps by dawn the next day. Now it’s expanding to Singapore by offering products on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s RedMart.

Singaporeans will be able to buy Market Kurly’s ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals from Wednesday via the app, owned by Alibaba unit Lazada. They include frozen snacks and Korean-style cold soba from Gwanghwamun Mijin, a storied decades-old restaurant in Seoul. The initial launch of 44 products will be gradually expanded to chilled food and possibly non-food daily products in the future, Market Kurly Chief Executive Officer Sophie Kim said.

Market Kurly Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kim, a former Goldman Sachs banker obsessed with fresh food, has created a mobile app that is disrupting South Korea’s retail industry by giving grocery shoppers fewer reasons to visit a store.

“Singapore is a melting pot of culture and food,” Kim told Bloomberg News. Lazada and RedMart’s “nationwide reach allows us to tap their expertise and skills, and the ability for us to use that data for future product roll-outs.”

The move marks the first overseas push for the seven-year-old startup, which is preparing for an initial public offering at home. The company has attracted a total of nearly 1 trillion won (US$767 million) in fundraising ahead of the debut, Bloomberg News has reported. Its backers include Millennium Management, Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital, according to a previous statement.

Read more: Goldman Alum’s Grocery App Said to Seek $1 Billion Korea IPO

—With assistance from Heejin Kim.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.