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K-fashion startup Musinsa goes global, starting with Japan

CEO Han Mun-il looks to ride next cultural wave after K-pop and K-dramas

Customers shop at a Musinsa store in Seoul. The unicorn integrates brick-and-mortar shops with its mostly digital operation. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL/TOKYO -- South Korean fashion-selling platform Musinsa is using Japan as the springboard for its global expansion, continuing a dramatic evolution from its roots as a photo-swapping website from the dot-com era.

"Asian brands have a global reach," Han Mun-il, Musinsa's 34-year-old CEO, said in an interview with Nikkei. Since establishing itself as a mail-order fashion business in 2009, Musinsa now handles sales in 14 markets, including a number of Southeast Asian nations, the U.S. and Australia.

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