When 27-year-old Jang Deok-joon came home on the morning of October 12, 2020 after his night shift at the South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang, he jumped first in the shower, as always. When he still hadn’t come out of the bathroom after an hour and a half, his father opened the door and found him unconscious and curled up in the bathtub, his arms pressed tightly to his chest. Jang Deok-joon was taken to the hospital, but since he had lost his pulse and could not breathe on his own, the doctors pronounced him dead at 9:09 am. The coroner found that he had died of a heart attack.
Jang had worked in the Coupang camp south of Daegu city for a little over a year. He was hauling boxes of items ready to be sent to the delivery centers. He was the third Coupang employee to die this year – and there are increasing voices in Korea asking whether these deaths have anything to do with the company’s rapid rise.
Coupang is without a doubt astonishingly successful: in just a few years the company has risen to become the third largest employer in South Korea and has a supremacy on the saturated with a huge network of warehouses, 37,000 workers, a fleet of drivers and a range of AI-driven tools Developed the South Korean e-commerce market. Coupang is ubiquitous in South Korea: half of the residents have downloaded the company’s app and its “Rocket Delivery” service – the company claims 99.3 percent of orders are delivered within 24 hours – has earned it the reputation of ” even outperform Amazon “.
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