Private business in Hamheung province

According to the Daily NK:

Recent testimonies came out stating that 90% of the families in Hamheung City of South Hamkyung province maintain their living by running private businesses and due to the given reality, distribution of phones has been rapidly on the rise.  It is a well known fact that the North Korean factories in work are still below 20% and it is the women who are the main breadwinners of the North Korean homes. This is the first time the testimony came out saying that 90% of women in Hamheung City run businesses.  Lee said that although she does not sell at a stall in a jangmadang, she does have a business of providing necessary items to a number of regulars. She started this medication business in 1995, when her relatives(Korean-Chinese) living in China helped her by providing 500,000 Won ($250).

Lee said that instead of going to the workplace, she pays 10,000 won ($5). Because she is not working, they do not give her food tickets, but they stamp her attendance card. If she neither works nor pays, she has to go to a labor detention facility (Nodong Danryeondae).

“Although state enterprises say they will give 10,000 won ($5) to the workers, after taking out fees for the People’s Army, savings, and other fees to the state, the money you end up with is only about 2,000 Won ($1). With this, you cannot live. This is why I started my own business,” said Lee.

Kim Jin Chul (male, age 26) from Shinuiju testified, “Most of the families I know of in my town, Dongsang-dong, Shiuiju, have their own businesses. They mostly sell manufactured goods such as shoes, hats, glasses, gloves and food such as candies, ramyun, and liquor.”

“More than 90% of the Dongsang-dong residents live by running their own businesses. They buy goods by making profits by exchanging foreign currency to the trade companies in China, and they sell them in jangmadang,” said Kim.


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