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Coupang founder drops all South Korean posts to focus on global push

Kim Bom-suk plans to expand abroad using funds raised by Wall St. debut

Kim Bom-suk, founder of South Korean e-commerce group Coupang, stands outside the New York Stock Exchange in March. (AP via Kyodo)

SEOUL -- The founder of leading South Korean e-tailer Coupang has stepped down from all positions at the group's domestic unit, as he focuses on the international segment.

Kim Bom-suk resigned as board chairman and registered director of Coupang Korea effective May 31. He has been replaced by Kang Han-seung, who is serving double duty as the company's president.

Kim, who is Korean American, will devote his time to Coupang Inc., which leads the global business and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March, Coupang said in Thursday's announcement.

Coupang earns almost all of its e-commerce revenue from South Korea. The company said it will spend the funds raised from the Wall Street debut on overseas expansion.

The company started trial operations in Japan on June 1 under Kim's leadership.

But speculation in South Korea's financial industry suggests the 42-year-old founder left Coupang Korea due to the tougher domestic environment for business leaders. Major corporations including the country's powerful family-run conglomerates known as chaebol face strict laws, and chief executives are often the target of indictments.

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