When he wasn’t taking stunning panorama photographs around Pyongyang, Singapore-based photographer Aram Pan had time to visit this year’s Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair (평양봄철국제상품전람회).
The fair was twice as big this year as it had been in 2013 according to state media, and it’s easy to see why when you watch a 3-minute video shot by Pan.
The place is bustling with people browsing and buying all manner of products.
As Pan notes in the opening of the video, all transactions that take place at the event are settled in Chinese Yuan, Euros or U.S. Dollars. In fact, a booth worker can be seen handling U.S. More >
Almost 70 companies publicly traded on U.S. stock markets have found North Korean gold in their manufacturing supply chains.
Among the more prominent names are electronics companies IBM, HP, Garmin, Philips and Seagate, U.S. kitchenware retailer Willams Sonoma.
The discoveries were disclosed in reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that are the result of a new law that mandates companies audit their suppliers and identify sources of so-called conflict minerals: gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum.
The companies all named North Korea’s central bank as the source of some gold that made its way into their products.
Will Scott, a computer scientist from Washington state, just returned from several months as a guest lecturer at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).
In an interview with North Korea Tech and in posts on Reddit, Scott spoke about what it’s like to be at PUST.
This is part two of a three-part series. Part one published yesterday covered life at PUST and part three looks at North Korea’s Red Star Linux.
When PUST was first proposed, the school said it was intending to use a satellite More >
Almost ten years in planning, PUST is the country’s first privately-run university and backed with funds from evangelical Christian organizations in the U.S. and overseas.
It currently has several hundred students and guest lecturers make semester-long commitments to PUST and travel from overseas to teach students.
One such lecturer, Will Scott from Washington state, has just returned from the university.
Through a series of posts on Reddit and in emails with North Korea Tech, Scott provided a glimpse into what it’s More >
Enthusiasm appears to be waning for North Korea’s Samjiyon Android tablet.
Two of the tablets have appeared again on Ebay and were offered by the same vendor who sold one two weeks ago.
This time, it attracted fewer bids and sold for far less than the $546 winning bid of the first Samjiyon to appear on Ebay.
That was sold on November 17 by “firstname.lastname@example.org,” who was identified in an Ebay profile as a Canadian user. The tablet was being shipped from Yanji, China, which is close to the North Korean border.
The Ebay profile page for that email address user now redirects to user More >
A North Korean Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet computer sold for the impressive price of $546 on Ebay.
The tablet first appeared on the site on November 7 with an opening bid of $4.15 — a likely reference to the April 15 birthday of Kim Il Sung — and attracted 53 bids over 10 days.
The Samjiyon, which appears to be available in several versions, has been reportedly sold to tourists for between $200 and $250, so the Ebay price represents somewhere between a doubling and tripling of the selling price.
The buyer isn’t identified but the seller is listed on Ebay by his or her More >
One of the surprises in North Korea’s recently-launched Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet was the inclusion of Angry Birds, the globally-popular game that involves shooting animated birds to destroy structures and animated pigs.
In July, when I was reviewing the Samjiyon, I contacted game-maker Rovio to ask about its inclusion in the device. Despite several attempts to get comment, the company never replied.
Last week, The Washington Post managed to have a bit more luck.
A spokesman for the developer said via e-mail: “Angry Birds Rio has not been localized into Korean, and Rovio Entertainment has no affiliation with the version of the game being shown on the Samjiyon More >
A model of North Korea’s Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet is up for sale on Ebay.
It appeared on the morning on Thursday, November 7, and appears to have been listed by a Canadian account with a shipping location of Yanji in China. Yanji sits just across the border from North Korea.
Its appearance followed a second-round of publicity for the Samjiyon that coincided with a review published by 38 North.
The Android-based tablet debuted at an opening bid of $4.15 — a possible reference to April 15, the “Day of the Sun” holiday that marks Kim Il Sung’s birthday — and its price has been More >
The Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair is scheduled to run until Thursday and has attracted companies from Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, Italy, China, Cuba, Turkey and Taiwan, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
In previous years, the fair has been the launching point for new tablet computers. Nothing was mentioned about new computers in Monday’s local press coverage, although Monday’s main evening news bulletin on Korea Central Television (below) did show again the Samjiyon tablet computer
One of the most interesting questions surrounding North Korea’s Samjiyon tablet is its source. State media reports not withstanding, the tablet is almost certainly not made in North Korea — the country just doesn’t have the electronics manufacturing capability to design products like tablet computers from the components up.
And anyway, why bother? Companies in Taiwan and China offer many finished tablet designs that are widely used, even by well-known western brand names, so why go through the work and expense of designing something from scratch?
North Korea’s IT expertise is in software and that’s where the Samjiyon is very North Korean. There More >