Archive for the ‘Hana Electronics Company’ Category

KWP forms 4.15 gift preparation committees

Monday, March 5th, 2012

According to the Daily NK:

The North Korean authorities have ordered the formation of ‘Day of the Sun Gift Preparation Committees’ at the provincial Party level and subordinate ‘Day of the Sun Gift Subcommittees’ at the city and county scale, Daily NK has learned.

A Yangkang [Ryanggang] Province source who spoke with Daily NK on the 6th explained, “The ‘Day of the Sun Gift Preparation Committee’ was formed at the start of this month by the provincial Party Committee to prepare for the Suryeong’s birthday, and groups of areas were banded together to form the ‘Day of the Sun Gift Subcommittees’.”

“There was no distribution for February 16th,” the source recalled. “Possibly because the central Party received reports of popular discontent about this and asked some searching questions of provincial cadres, now they are running around trying to get ready for April 15th holiday distribution.”

“Enterprise traders are mostly bringing in soy bean oil, soap and towels via Chinese customs. They are printing ‘Day of the Sun 100th Anniversary’ on the towels,” he added.

The formation of the committees has also reportedly had a noticeable influence on levels of public expectation of the April 15th festivities, representing as it does the first time that ‘Gift Preparation Committees’ have been formed since they disappeared without a trace in the mid 1990s.

“They are already saying that each household is going to receive a huge gift for this Day of the Sun, so people are really expecting a lot,” the source said, adding, “The rumor among jangmadang traders is that every house is going to get a DVD player made by Hana Electronics in Pyongyang.”

As the source noted, the move comes following significant public discontent at the lack of gifts on February 16th (Kim Jong Il’s birthday).

On February 21st, Daily NK reported new of that discontent, citing a Yangkang Province source as saying, “There was a flood of criticism about the total lack of holiday distribution for Gwangmyungsung Day, so they began telling every organ, enterprise and people’s unit meeting, ‘That is because we are close to the 100th anniversary of the Suryeong’s birth, and the Party is preparing big gifts for that.’”

North Korea began giving snacks, rice and other foodstuffs to the people every year on the birthdays of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, along with things like school uniforms and blankets every 5th and 10th year, in the 1970s. However, the system ceased to function in the 1990s as the country was gripped by famine and economic disintegration.

Meanwhile, sources also report that with the arrival of the early spring lean season, a time when many people on the Korean Peninsula have traditionally struggled to find sufficient sustenance, prices in the market are beginning to creep up.

According to the Yangkang Province source, “Until late last week the Yuan price was 607 won, but now it is up to 635 won. The price of rice has also gone from 3,300 won to 3,800 won.”

Read the full story here:
North Forms Party 4.15 ‘Gift Preparation Committees’
Daily NK
Lee Seok Young
2012-3-5

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Some recent DPRK publications (UPDATED)

Monday, October 31st, 2011

“North Korea on the Cusp of Digital Transformation”
Nautilus Institute
Alexandre Mansurov

“North Korea: An Up-and-Coming IT-Outsourcing Destination”
38 North
Paul Tija, GPI Consulting

“NK People Speak, 2011″ (Interviews with North Koreans in China)
Daily NK (PDF)

“The Rise and Fall of Détente on the Korean Peninsula, 1970-1974″
Wilson Center NKIDP
Christian F. Ostermann and James Person
(Coverage of the report in the Donga Ilbo can be found here)

Don’t Expect a Pyongyang Spring Sometime Soon
Center for Strategic and International Studies (via CanKor)
Hazel Smith

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Foreign shareholding in Daedong Credit Bank sold

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The Taedong Credit Bank offices at the Potonggang Hotel.  See in Google Maps here.

London UK/Pyongyang DPRK, 26 August 2011
The Board of Daedong Credit Bank is pleased to announce that the foreign shareholding in Daedong Credit Bank has been sold to a Chinese based corporate entity, the “Nice Group”.

The foreign-appointed directors on the Board of Daedong Credit Bank have resigned with immediate effect, and have no further interests (financial or fiduciary) in the company.

Outgoing CEO of Daedong Credit Bank, Nigel Cowie noted:

“I am now heavily involved with a second joint venture company in the DPRK, Hana Electronics JVC. Established in 2003, this company has enjoyed solid commercial success and has recently opened its new headquarters building, together with the expansion of its business lines.

The success of both ventures has been such as to necessitate a decision to focus on one or the other, and a commercial decision had to be made.

The bank is continuing to enjoy the commercial success it has seen for the past 16 years, but ironically the decision has been made easier by the general sanctions-laden environment in which financial business here is framed these days.

As to the possibility of ever re-entering the bank, any decision we make will be based purely on commercial considerations.”

Both Hana Electronics and Phoenix Commercial Ventures bank with DCB, and will continue to do so.

About Daedong Credit Bank

Daedong Credit Bank is a joint venture retail bank based in Pyongyang. It was established in 1995 as “Peregrine Daesong Development Bank”. The Bank underwent a change of name and foreign ownership in 2000.

The wealth of experience garnered over Daedong Credit Bank’s 16 years of successful operation is unrivalled.

Daedong Credit Bank was the first, by fifteen years, foreign majority held bank in the DPRK. DCB is proud to be regarded as a flagship successful joint venture in the DPRK, and a key part of the infrastructure needed to assist the foreign-invested joint ventures, which contribute to the country’s economic development.

The bank’s principal function is to offer normal “high street” banking facilities in hard currency to foreign companies, joint ventures, international relief agencies and individuals doing legitimate business in the DPRK.

Daedong Credit Bank was the first bank in the DPRK to introduce, and vigorously implement, a comprehensive set of anti-money laundering procedures. DCB’s anti-money laundering procedure manual was introduced eight years ago, and subsequently updated based on anti-money laundering guidelines provided by the Asian Development Bank. The manual has been sent to, and accepted by, DCB’s international correspondent banks.

Daedong Credit Bank also maintains strict procedures for the detection and rejection of counterfeit bank notes; it uses regularly updated note checking machines, and has personnel with over 15 years of experience of handling notes.

Daedong Credit Bank is strongly positioned in relation to the future economic development of the DPRK, and, being the oldest established foreign invested commercial bank in the DPRK, it is the intention of the bank to capitalise on these advantages.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Daedong Credit Bank office address in Pyongyang is:
Daedong Credit Bank
Suite 401, Potonggang Hotel
Ansan-dong
Pyongchon District
Pyongyang
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
www.daedongcreditbank.com

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Phoenix Commercial Ventures update

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Pictured above (Google Earth): The recently completed Hana Electronics and restaurant building in Rakrang-guyok (락랑구역).  See in Google Maps here.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures has recently launched a new web page and issued the following press release on their latest projects in the DPRK:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Hana Electronics Opens “The Restaurant at Hana”
Pyongyang/London, July 8th 2011

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd (www.pcvltd.com) is proud to announce that Hana Electronics JVC (a 50/50 joint venture based in the DPRK)  completed and moved into its new headquarters based near the T’ongil Market in Pyongyang in Q1 2011.

Having moved in and set up its production facilities, Hana has now opened a restaurant (“The Restaurant at Hana”) and related leisure facilities (swimming pool, sauna, hairdresser, bar, gym etc) in its headquarters.

The restaurant (which comprises a main dining room and several private ones) and leisure facilities are open to locals and foreigners alike. Food for the restaurant is sourced from local markets.

A video and photos of the restaurant can be viewed on the Phoenix website.

About Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd
Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd offers investors business and investment opportunities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), enabling them to take advantage of the economic reforms that are taking place there.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd maintains an office in Pyongyang, almost the only European company to do so, and operates with the following specific aims:

• Identify commercially viable investment projects in the DPRK, on a case by case basis

• Identify reliable local partners for all forms of business in the DPRK, either trade or investment

• Seek overseas investment sources for such projects

• Minimise the risk in such projects, by taking responsibility for supervision of the local set-up procedures and management of the projects

About Hana
Hana was established in May 2003. In 2004 it began manufacturing and selling DVD and VCD players, as well as pressing and selling CD’s.

When the company first began operations it employed barely a handful of people. Now it employs over 200 people, and has thus become a major employer with significant social responsibilities which it takes very seriously.

Hana have established a nationwide distribution network throughout the major cities in the DPRK. Whilst they manufactured and marketed CD’s, they had an exclusive long term contract with the Mansudae Arts Centre, which belongs to the Ministry of Culture, one of the partners in the JV, for 300 works including; movies, karaoke and other music.

They now produce and sell a range of DVD players, and will move into other consumer electronics products.

Hana is now ranked as one of the top three best performing joint ventures in DPRK, as assessed by the Ministry of Finance.

Hana is proud to have introduced a number of firsts, which show the evolution of the DPRK to a market economy. These include:

• Advertising – the Hana logo, together with the company’s telephone number, appear on every product and packing case

• Offering a guarantee – Hana has also introduced a six-month, no questions asked, guarantee on all products

• Distribution System – Hana have gradually established, from a zero base, a distribution system covering the whole country. They have set up sales offices – for example, in Chongjin, they now have one main office and 13 sub-branches; in Hamhung, they have one main office and 3 sub-offices, and also have offices in Nampo, Sariwon and Sinuiju. They plan to open more outlets, first in the other provincial cities, then in the smaller county seats

• Hana intends to diversify and expand their range of products.

• Hana moved into its newly constructed building, next to the T’ongil Market, in Q1 2011.

• Hana has also opened a restaurant (“The Restaurant at Hana”) and leisure facilities (including a swimming pool) in its new building. The restaurant and leisure facilities are open to locals and foreigners alike.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Phoenix Commercial Ventures Limited
No. 901
International House of Culture
Ryonhwa-dong
Central District
Pyongyang
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Corporate Website www.pcvltd.com

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Interview with Ken Frost, CFO, Phoenix Commerical Ventures

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Interview Blog, Germany
(click here for all their North Korea-related interviews)

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd is a venture capital company that offers investors business and investment opportunities in the DPRK” – Interview with Ken Frost (CFO of Phoenix)

Klaus-Martin Meyer: Mr. Frost, you are member of the Board of Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd, a company that offers investors business and investment opportunities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) otherwise known as North Korea. Would you mind introducing yourself and your company as well to our readers?

Ken Frost: Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd is a venture capital company that offers investors business and investment opportunities in the DPRK, enabling them to take advantage of the economic reforms that are taking place there.

Phoenix is owned and run by four experienced professionals, who are based in London, Paris and the DPRK. The Board has between them many years of international business experience, and an invaluable network of well placed contacts. Phoenix offers a unique service, by being able to offer direct access to the DPRK.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd specialises in project finance in the DPRK. As is well known, the business environment is difficult, and the company targets very specific investment projects; these are small enough to manage and have the capacity to generate foreign currency, either through export or import substitution.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd maintains an office in Pyongyang, almost the only European company to do so, and operates with the following specific aims:

• Identify commercially viable investment projects in the DPRK, on a case by case basis
• Identify reliable local partners for all forms of business in the DPRK, either trade or investment
• Seek overseas investment sources for such projects
• Minimise the risk in such projects, by taking responsibility for supervision of the local set-up procedures and management of the projects

The Board of Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd consists of nationals of the UK, France and the DPRK. The European flavour is enhanced by the fact that most of the counterparties and suppliers in the various projects are also European, and the DPRK government views Phoenix Commercial Ventures as a prime conduit for European business and investment in the DPRK.

One of the directors of Phoenix Commercial Ventures is also General Manager and CEO of the Daedong Credit Bank, the only western-invested foreign bank in the DPRK. Based in Pyongyang, this is a 70-30 joint venture between a UK financial management company based in Hong Kong and the Korea Daesong Bank, one of the main DPRK banks.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures is unique in having this connection with a reliable, locally based financial institution. The synergy benefits include a wider exposure to local business contacts in differing fields; as well as an additional degree of control, made possible by the fact that the various joint venture projects have to maintain their accounts with the bank.

We have a number of projects within DPRK, including two 50/50 joint ventures:

- Hana Electronics JVC, a consumer electronics company now ranked as one of the top three best performing joint ventures in DPRK, as assessed by the Ministry of Finance.

- Sinji JVC, whose main areas of operations are retail, software and bonded processing.

Full details about our company can be found on our website www.pcvltd.com

I am the CFO of Phoenix and am a chartered accountant with over twenty years international experience of FMCG industries, consumer electronics, rough diamond distribution and the Internet. I have worked in KPMG, Philips Electronics, De Beers and run my own Internet company. I am also a Scholar on Gerson Lehrman Group Councils.

In November 2007 I reached the finals of Accountant of the Year held by the Association of International Accountants at the President’s Awards Dinner 2007. This award is designed to recognise organisations’ accountancy stars.

In January 2007 I was awarded, based on recommendations from fellow members of the ICAEW, a New Year’s Honour by AccountingWeb. The award was for my services to the accountancy profession in opposing the merger of the ICAEW with other accountancy bodies.

In November 2006 I was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Institute of Professional Financial Managers (IPFM), for my services to the accountancy profession.

In January 2006 Accountancy Age placed me on their Financial Power List for 2006. I was 11th on their list of the top 50 of “The Ones To Watch”. The list identified the “most influential names to look out for” in the world of finance for 2006.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: We read on your website “offers investors business and investment opportunities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), enabling them to take advantage of the economic reforms that are taking place there.” Can you tell us what kind of opportunities this could be?

Ken Frost:There are three main areas of investment opportunities open to investors, which we can facilitate within the DPRK:

1 Small scale investments ($500K or less) yielding good levels of return (20% or more).

These investment opportunities are in local production (consumer goods, bonded processing, software etc) for domestic market consumption and export. These utilise the advantages that DPRK has over all the other countries in the region namely:

- 99% literacy
- skilled/disciplined/hard working workforce
- well educated workforce, many speak a good level of English
- lowest wage rates in the region

Phoenix has a number of opportunities that it can offer investors in this area; eg bonded processing, consumer manufacturing, clothing manufacturing and software development.

2 Natural resources

DPRK has proven abundant natural resources worth several trillion dollars; eg coal, gold, copper, titanium, lead, zinc, nephelite, nickel, magnesia, graphite etc.

The investment required would be of a higher order than the small scale investments above, $1M plus. The money would be used to bring existing mines back to production, by pumping out flood water and renewing worn out capital equipment.

Phoenix has, via its working relationship with CPEEC, a number or opportunities in the natural resource sector that it can offer genuine investors.

3 Infrastructure development

Clearly investment in infrastructure is the costliest form of investment. However, given the dilapidated state of the roads, railways, ports, electricity grid etc it is necessary if the economy is to be revived.

DPRK also has a keen interest in infrastructure development focussed on green/renewable energy areas.

Phoenix has on it books a profitable renewable energy project that would suit a serious, well financed and experienced green energy investor.

The DPRK is the final economic frontier and is a “green field” site. Its primary advantages are:

- Location (physical position between Russia, South Korea, China and in AP)
- Location (historical, all the major players now want to move forward)
- Location (resources, it has abundant rich resources both mineral and human capital – high literacy, well educated etc)

Klaus-Martin Meyer: What are the main differences between your company and a conventional venture capital company that is investing for example in internet our biotech companies?

Ken Frost: Companies such as those you mention are industry-specific, whereas ours is location-specific. Our company is relevant to people who might want to invest in the DPRK.  We work in the DPRK and have a physical presence in the DPRK, other “conventional” venture capital companies do not.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: Are there any differences to other investment companies?

Ken Frost: We apply the same principles to potential investments as any other professional investment company, we look at:

- the risk
- the returns
- the quality of the local management
- the quality of the business plan
- the size of investment
- the share offered for that investment etc

We also pay very close attention to corporate governance issues such as; financial reporting, management structure and ethics etc. We have a code of conduct which can be seen on our website.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and to the pursuit of a sustainable future, both economic and social.

Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd adheres to three fundamental ethical principles:

- Integrity
- Competence
- Courtesy

To this end Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd has developed a Code of Conduct, which sets out to ensure that these principles are followed in its operations. The Code of Conduct governs Phoenix’s business decisions and actions. The Code applies equally to corporate actions, and to the behaviour of individual employees when conducting business on behalf of Phoenix.

We work very hard with our local management teams and business partners to ensure that international standards re reporting, corporate governance and ethics are understood and followed.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: What are your plans for the company’s future? How do you see Phoenix Commercial Ventures in five years time?

We see the coming period for Phoenix as that of being continued growth.

In our view there will be a major upswing in economic relations between the DPRK and other countries over the coming months/years. Phoenix Commercial Ventures is uniquely placed to take advantage of, and to respond to, that upswing.

We are one of the very few organisations to have made successful joint ventures in the DPRK. We are also one of the very few organisations to have people with many years’ experience, and cultural sensitivity, actually on the ground in Pyongyang. You cannot run a business by email!

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North Korea Google Earth (Version 7)

Friday, December 14th, 2007

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
North Korea Uncovered v.7
Download it here

koreaisland.JPGThis map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the sixth version.

Additions to the latest version of “North Korea Uncovered” include: A Korean War folder featuring overlays of US attacks on the Sui Ho Dam, Yalu Bridge, and Nakwon Munitians Plant (before/after), plus other locations such as the Hoeryong Revolutionary Site, Ponghwa Revolutionary Site, Taechon reactor (overlay), Pyongyang Railway Museum, Kwangmyong Salt Works, Woljong Temple, Sansong Revolutionary Site, Jongbansan Fort and park, Jangsan Cape, Yongbyon House of Culture, Chongsokjong, Lake Yonpung, Nortern Limit Line (NLL), Sinuiju Old Fort Walls, Pyongyang open air market, and confirmed Pyongyang Intranet nodes.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.

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Google Earth North Korea (version 6)

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
North Korea Uncovered: Version 6
Download it here

kissquare.JPGThis map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the sixth version.

Additions to the newest version of North Korea Uncovered include: Alleged Syrian nuclear site (before and after bombing), Majon beach resort, electricity grid expansion, Runga Island in Pyongyang, Mt. Ryongak, Yongbyon historical fort walls, Suyang Fort walls and waterfall in Haeju, Kaechon-Lake Taesong water project, Paekma-Cholsan waterway, Yachts (3), and Hyesan Youth Copper Mine.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.

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South Korean Dramas Are All the Rage among North Korean People

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Daily NK
Yoon Il Geun
11/2/2007

“Foreign Films That Are Circulating at More Than One Million CDs”

Despite the North Korean authorities’ strict control, foreign films and South Korean drama Video Compact Disks (VCDs) circulating around North Korea is reportedly over 1 million copies since 2000.

Defector Choi Young Bum (pseudonym, 38), who has circulated South Korean and foreign movie VCDs among North Korean citizens said, “If one goes to a large city market, not only Pyongyang, but Pyongsung, Chongjin, Hamheung, Wonsan, and Shinuiju, hundreds or thousands kinds of movie and drama CDs can be obtained through black marketeers.”

According to Mr. Choi, foreign movie CDs inside North Korea have become significantly more mainstream.

Mr. Choi said that the largest market for the North Korean VCD business is the Pyongsung market. He said, “In Pyongsung market alone, merchants who sell South Korean dramas or foreign movie CDs while avoiding regulations, are sufficiently over 100. One person has several hundred copies at the least while another person has over 2,000 copies on the higher end. The authorities are stepping forward for inspections, but VCDs that have been circulating are at over several million copies.”

He said, “In Pyongyang, VCDs that have been circulating are more than in other regions. In early 2000, Hong Kong movies, South Korean dramas in mid-2000s, and recently, American movies that have been translated in Korea have been drawing a lot of popularity.” He relayed that the cultural difference between Pyongyang or other large cities to the provinces are sizable. The South Korean drama “Winter Sonata” became already a classical one in Pyongyang, but was still a hit in the countryside.”

He said that with the rise in popularity of South Korean dramas among North Korean people, the VCD merchants along the border region made quite a profit.

According to Mr. Choi, the prime cost from China was 150 North Korean won, but now, the asking price is over 300 won. The price of a VCD was around 900~1,000 won per copy in 2003, but it is now over 1,500 won. The price is supposed to jump twofold as the VCDs pass through each phase through Chinese merchants, the wholesaler, runner (regional circulators), and to retail trade.

He explained, “With popular action movies or dramas, they were sold at 2,000 won per copy. South Korean Series that have been consistently popular like “Autumn Sonata,” “Hourglass,” and “Glass Slippers” are wrapped in cases by sets, so the price is a bit discounted.”

Mr. Choi said that the price of a VCD player is around 30,000 won. “There were times when we sold the VCDs in cash, but we have thrown in extra as a bonus when selling used TVs from China.”

He added, “From mid-2004, DVDs started entering North Korea. Nowadays, their qualities are better than VCDs and high-capacity DVDs have been in circulation.”

Mr. Choi said that according to a change in DVD trends, North Korea’s Hana (one) Electronics Company have assembled and sold DVD players from attachments from China with the “Hana Electronics” brand. These DVDs can be purchased at North Korean stores.

”The contents of DVDs which can be produced legally in North Korea are mostly North Korean movies, films, former Soviet movies, former Chinese movies, screen accompaniment music (music videos), etc. North Korean civilians pretend like they are watching DVDs that are officially sold in North Korea while they have been watching South Korean dramas bought from the black market.”

Defector Ms. Im, who entered South Korea, said, “North Korean citizens, when someone comes to visit them while they are watching South Korean dramas with doors locked, hide the CDs while the other person goes to the door. They switch on a North Korean CD as if they were watching a North Korean movie.”

Ms. Im said, “Even the National Security agents and the Safety agents watch South Korean dramas and most people are watching them secretly. No matter how much the authorities regulate, it is difficult to control the practice. Once people are exposed to such a culture, it is not easy to stop. They are not going to stop watching them.”

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