“The Economist” on Pyongyang Trade Fair

From The Economist:

Originally designed to promote business-to-business contacts, the trade fair, along with a companion event in the autumn, has become one of the few opportunities for North Koreans—or, more accurately, a few thousand residents of the capital—to buy, or gawk at, foreign merchandise. More than 100 Chinese companies, together with some from Taiwan, Indonesia, Britain and North Korea itself, offered up everything from T-shirts to heavy machinery. Cutting-edge technology it wasn’t. Duvets, refrigerators, flat-screen televisions, DVD players, cooking pots and cosmetics were the most popular items. More than 15 units of one of the show’s most expensive items, a $1,200 refrigerator from Haier, a Chinese company, were snapped up. Counterfeit iPods were also popular, even if downloading is illegal.

In pursuit of the country’s goal of becoming a net exporter, around 40 local enterprises also displayed their wares, including medicines, oil paintings, machinery, spectacles and a polarised-light device that the makers claimed could cure any disease. But it was the imports that galvanised people’s inner shopper. A billboard at the entrance trumpeted the slogan “Building an Independent National Economy” and included numerous photographs of Kim Jong Il and his father inspecting farms and factories, a reminder to visitors of the all-embracing love and compassion of the Kim family. As the shopfest ended, however, some North Koreans refused to leave, demanding that the event’s organiser allow them to continue their buying spree. The dear leader’s love apparently wasn’t enough.

For a different perspective, read this post by Dr. Petrov.

Read the article here:
North Korea’s new rich
How the other 0.0000001% live
The Economist


Comments are closed.