North Korean state media has reported on a visit by Kim Jong Il to the “May 11 Factory,” which it described as “a modern scientific research and production center which researches and develops varieties of electronic goods including liquid crystal display TV sets.”
The KCNA report mentioned the LCD televisions several times and was accompanied with many photos of the TVs, so they appear to be something the North Korean government is proud of. There’s a gallery of stills from the KRT evening news report below.
Look through them and you’ll notice the pictures all appear to show the final stages of assembly where the case is put around the electronics and screen. There are no pictures showing earlier stages in the assembly process or the prior stages to that, such as the fitting of components to circuit boards.
There is also a lack of parts around the workers. In a typical LCD TV factory there would be crates of spare parts and casings nearby, so the workers don’t have to walk far. It’s quite possible the layout of this factory is different, but if so it’s probably not as efficient.
It’s reminiscent of a March television report that purported to show North Korea’s first laptop PC factory. It turned out at least one of the laptops is likely being made in China and shipped to North Korea.
As in the case of the laptops, it’s impossible to tell if they are from an outside source unless someone can identify the televisions on show. The front designs of the TVs are rather generic so they’re difficult to identify. In any case copying of popular designs is rampant in the LCD TV industry.
Perhaps the best clue is picture 17 in the upper right. A TV is lying on its face in the foreground and the rear of the case is visible. The rear panels are mre unique and much less likely to be copied than the front panels.
The factory, said KCNA, “is capable of producing hundreds of thousands of liquid crystal display TV sets in a year.”
Whether or not the factory actually makes the TV sets in question, or other devices, the report underlines it’s part of North Korea’s drive to improve the level of science and technology in the country.
These shining achievements are a clear proof of the validity and vitality of the Party’s policy on taking hold on science and technology as the lifeline for the building of an economic power, he added. – Korea Central News Agency, Pyongyang, July 28, 2011.
Kim Jong Il was accompanied on the visit by next-in-line son Kim Jong Un.
North Korea Leadership Watch also spotted the presence of Jon Il Chun in official photographs. Jon, according to the website, is daily manager of Office #39 under the party’s Finance and Accounting Department. Office #39 is widely believed to be the organization through which North Korea brings in much of its foreign currency. More details on NK Leadership Watch here and NK Econwatch here.
This year’s Spring International Trade Fair is taking place in Pyongyang this week.
As usual, the fair serves as a showcase for domestic products and technology and a place for foreign companies to display their goods and make domestic contacts. This week’s fair has drawn companies from China, Germany, Malaysia, Mongolia, Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, the U.K., Australia, Austria, Italy, Indonesia, France, Poland and Taiwan, reported KCNA.
The event opened on Monday at the Three Revolution Exhibition in the north of the city and drew a number of top-officials. Present on the fair’s opening day included Kang Sok Ju, vice-premier; Ri Ryong Nam, minister of foreign trade; and O Ryong Chol, vice-minister of Foreign Trade.
KCNA carried a brief item on the event and it got 2 minutes and 20 seconds on the evening news. I’ve excerpted some frames from the report below. (Sorry for the poor quality, it’s the best available to me.)
I’ve been able to determine this partial list of exhibitors from the TV footage.
Of particular interest is the stand of a company with the “Kacon” logo.
It appears almost identical to a South Korean company of the same name.
Has a South Korean company taken out space at the show, perhaps through a subsidiary or dealer? If you have any information on this, please leave it in the comments.
Some of the other companies taking part:
Korea Jangsaeng JV – Korean medicine and health food
Korea Manbok JV
Korea Sangsaeng JV
Puhung (possibly Korea Puhung General Trading, part of the Third Bureau of Engineers formed to acquire raw materials for the country’s nuclear program, according to reports. Can anyone match the logo?)
BYD Auto – Cars
Dandong Sky Dragon
Henan Xinfei Electric (Frestech) -Refrigerators, air conditioners
Liaoning Yuhua Electrical and Mechanical Equipment – Construction equipment
Purkinje General – Spectrophotometers and environmental instruments
Shenyang Daji Industrial – Titanium pipe
Wuxi Kipor Power – generators, industrial equipment and construction machinery
Zongshen Motorcycle – Motorbikes
The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology enrolled an additional 100 students at the start of the current academic semester, according to a foundation that supports the school.
The first classes at PUST began in October 2010 with 160 students enrolled, said reports at the time. The latest intake will take the student body to 260 members, assuming none of the initial students has dropped out.
That’s pretty small for a university, but PUST isn’t interesting for the number of students. The school has raised heads because of its unusual backing and plans.
The university is a sister establishment of the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China and was founded by a group of evangelical Christians based in South Korea and the U.S.
Perhaps even more radical is the curriculum and teaching plans.
After beginning with English classes in October, March was supposed to see a fuller course of information technology, business management and agriculture. Some of the lecturers at the school come from overseas, the language of instruction is English, and students will have accessed to the Internet, albeit a censored version, according to claims from the university’s backers.
The university is looking for faculty volunteers to help out of one month of more. If you’re interested in getting involved with the university, check the YUST/PUST Foundation website.
Here are some pictures of the classrooms at PUST, a 2003 artist’s image of the site, and some pictures of current campus buildings. All images are courtesy of the Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC).
The 6th Pyongyang International Trade Fair kicked off on Oct. 18 and was covered by KCNA and Korea Central Television.
The event is being held at the Three Revolution Exhibition in Pyongyang and has attracted exhibitors from 17 countries. On show are “machine tools, electric and electronic equipment, vehicles, medicines, daily necessities and foodstuffs,” reported KCNA.
Among the companies in attendance are Haier, the Chinese home appliance maker, and the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (German Energy Agency).
Here are some views of the expo, courtesy of KRT:
Pyongyang, October 18 (KCNA) — The 6th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair was opened with due ceremony at the Three-Revolution Exhibition on Monday.
Displayed there are machine tools, electric and electronic equipment, vehicles, medicines, daily necessities, foodstuff, etc produced by companies of the DPRK, China, Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Austria, Italy, Indonesia, India, Cuba, Poland and Taipei of China.
Full Story: KCNA