Author: My Country

Vintage photo of children relaxing at Taesongs…

Vintage photo of children relaxing at Taesongsan Funfair in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un took part in Supreme People’s Asse…

Kim Jong Un took part in Supreme People’s Assembly elections. He cast his vote for Hong So Hon, the president of Kim Chaek University of Science and Technology.

North Korean soldiers inside the Joint Securit…

North Korean soldiers inside the Joint Security Area have begun sporting new uniforms. The padded, woodland-pattern camouflage uniforms also include sunglasses, earpieces, and armbands. 

Pyongyang’s skyline viewed from the Yanggakdo …

Pyongyang’s skyline viewed from the Yanggakdo International Hotel. The capital’s electricity situation has dramatically improved in recent years due to the ongoing modernization of North Korea’s power grid and the completion of several new power plants. 

The central control room of the Pukchang Therm…

The central control room of the Pukchang Thermal Power Complex. North Korea’s largest power plant, it recently completed an expansion project that saw the installation of new generating equipment. The plant is currently renovating circulating pumps and manufacturing feeding pump blades to further boost electricity production.

North Koreans build nascent fintech infrastruc…

Amidst reports that North Korea’s mobile subscriber base has recently surpassed 6 million, a service called “mobile money” that allows users to share mobile phone minutes with each other has been rising in popularity. The micropayment service can also be used to send money and make purchases.

“The number of cell phone users and the time being spent on phones is increasing,” said a South Pyongan Province-based source. “Koryolink (a telecommunications company in North Korea) has subscribers paying 2,850 won per month for 200 minutes. Subscribers can share these minutes with friends or buy them from vendors.”

A source in North Pyongan Province added, “To send minutes to another person, all a subscriber has to do is put in the code and the phone number of the person they want to send the minutes to. They indicate the number of minutes they want to send and submit the form. The minutes on the other person’s phone increases accordingly.”

The use of the service also allows money transfers between individual subscribers, and there are even traders who assist in these transactions for a fee.

For example, a user in Chongjin may want to send money to a recipient in Pyongyang. The Chongjin resident can send minutes to a trader living in Pyongyang, who converts the amount into cash and delivers it to the Pyongyang recipient.

North Koreans can transfer money in a slightly more complicated way that requires traders in both Pyongyang and Chongjin to complete such a transaction. Moreover, the money sender has to transfer the money in cash instead of electronically.

“Mobile money” is also increasingly being used in the markets to pay for goods.

“There are some people who are starting to use the service to purchase items in the market with the minutes left over from a particular month,” said a North Hamgyong Province-based source. “All they have to do is send the minutes to the merchant on the spot.”

The fact that “mobile money” is being used as a new way to purchase products, despite the availability of a variety of debit cards, shows that North Koreans are using their own form of fintech infrastructure in the absence of other established financial services.

However, whether the use of “mobile money” to conduct money transfers and pay for products becomes a nationwide trend remains to be seen.

– Mun Dong Hui / DailyNK

Pyongyang style hot-pot. The dish is unique …

Pyongyang style hot-pot. The dish is unique in that the broth contains fruits such as pears and apples, helping to make the dish extremely rich but also light and healthy.

North Korean-style wedding photo at the Maeri …

North Korean-style wedding photo at the Maeri Shooting Range in Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un made his annual New Year Address t…

Kim Jong Un made his annual New Year Address to mark the start of 2019. Roughly two thirds of his speech was devoted to the economy. Kim Jong Un called for increased electricity supply and the need for modernization and innovation in consumer goods production. Kim Jong Un also stated that the United States should provide sanctions relief soon or he would have no choice but to try a different approach to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Newly built Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No…

Newly built Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 5 in North Hwanghae province. The station possesses four turbines with a total generating capacity of 10 MW. This plant is one of North Korea’s hydroelectric power stations registered with the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism that allow North Korea to generate carbon credits in return for food and other non-sanctioned goods.