Tech Underclass: The Harsh Reality Of Asia’s Digital Commerce Boom

DAEGU, South Korea — The last time Park Mi-suk and Jang Gwang saw their son alive, he was leaving their family’s apartment on a Sunday evening to catch the company shuttle bus, bound for an overnight shift at his job packing parcels.

Their son, Jang Dug-joon, had worked for 16 months at a fulfillment center operated by Coupang, a South Korean e-commerce giant. Jang was interested in technology and had graduated university with a degree in robotics — but, unable to find work in the field, he had decided to take up a casual job.

The warehouse he worked at is one node in a nationwide network that allows swift delivery of everything from milk and eggs to furniture and electronics. There, in an industrial area outside of the city, Jang worked long hours on his feet, procuring boxes and plastic padding for deliveries. Read more…..


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South Korea has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries to the one of the richest in less than a century, embracing tech like nowhere else.

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