Attempts to Introduce Cutting-edge IT

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

In its column from Pyongyang published on October 24, Chosun Sinbo (a North Korean newspaper in Japan) reports that using North Korean information technology, new attempts have been made starting this year to stimulate collectivistic competition.

The newspaper could not conceal its excitement saying that the aim was the global cutting edge, with efforts being the ‘National Information Technology Results Exhibition’ causing a “sensation.”

According to the report, ‘National Information Technology Results Exhibition 2016’ was held in the Three Revolutions Exhibition Hall, and was entitled “Self-strength First and the Fires of Collectivist Competition, Global Competitiveness.”

The report described the purpose of the exhibit as follows: “the units introducing and extolling the achievements of the country in IT technology and industry, showing the domestically produced, advanced information technology products will cause other units to learn and catch up, stimulating collectivist competition, and driving forward ‘our style of modernization and information technology’.”

A full 260 units displayed 1,000 products at the exhibit.

The newspaper informed readers that “in capitalist countries it is mainly companies that develop, produce and sell information technology products that participate in such exhibits; but in Korea there is a greater range of participants. . . . Beyond IT sector units, committees, ministerial and central institutions, educational and scientific research institutions, factories and other workplaces were all in attendance.”

Certificates and medals were awarded to ‘the top ten IT Companies’ and ‘top ten IT products’.

The newspaper reports that “Korea’s own OS, Red Star 3.0, based on Linux, was also named a ‘Top ten IT product’. . . . Red Star can be seen as a core product in the drive to bring in ‘our form of IT’, and is being widely used across public institutions, with it being popular among students too, who are sensitive to new things.”

Moreover, the newspaper boasted that “the OS, developed by the Red Star Research Institute, is distributed as freeware . . . realizing the push to bring information technology through collective means rather than through an economy of commodities and private ownership.”

The newspaper also expressed the hope that, “collectivist competition, characteristically socialist competition in a country aiming to development and strengthen . . . IT is the area expected to produce the fastest development, with endless leaps and innovations.”

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