Allure of South Korean products continues to undermine crackdowns
Despite continued crackdowns by the North Korean authorities, South Korean products, including clothes, cosmetics, and electronics, remain popular among ordinary North Koreans. Products and culture from the South have become an important aspect of life for many in the North, with such assets used to show off an individual’s wealth and status.
“These days, you can often see North Koreans wearing clothes seen in South Korean dramas. There are a lot of South Korean clothes that are smuggled into the country from China,” said a Ryanggang Province-based source on October 11.
“South Korean cosmetics can be bought in North Korea’s markets. South Korean clothes and cosmetics are very popular and expensive.”
She added that South Korean-made electrical items popular in North Korea include rice cookers, curling irons, clothes irons, electric shavers, DVD players, cameras, electric tea kettles, and portable media players.
“South Korean electronics are considered the best in North Korea, so they are hot items throughout the country,” she explained.
Despite their popularity, the sale of South Korean products is heavily restricted by the North Korean authorities. In the country’s markets, local police monitor the products on offer from merchants. Merchants, however, have found numerous ways to avoid being caught.
“South Korean products are not sold out in the open; instead merchants hide them in the back and sell them secretly to those who request them,” said a source in North Pyongan Province. ......