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South Korea delivery giants lock horns in post-pandemic price war

SEOUL -- In 2019, Gu Gyo-hyeon took up work delivering meals on the busy streets of Seoul. Paid per delivery and without a guaranteed wage, he spent each day making as many drop-offs as possible, maneuvering his motorcycle through the city's gridlock to deliver fried chicken, spicy soups and lunchboxes.

There was plenty of work to go around, especially once the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a boom in at-home eating. Total sales of South Korea's food delivery sector surged from 9.7 trillion won ($6.98 billion) in 2019 to 17.30 trillion won the following year and to 26.59 trillion won in 2022, according to government statistics.