Posts tagged Pyongyang International Trade Fair
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. currency in one scene in the video. This isn’t perhaps surprising when many retailers and products have come from overseas.
The 17th annual Pyongyang’s Spring International Trade Fair (평양봄철국제상품전람회) was held last week and attracted around 300 companies, according to domestic media reports.
The 2014 fair appears to have significantly grown in size from 140 companies in 2013 and for the first time occupied two halls at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House: the New Technology Innovation Hall and the Heavy Industry Hall.
“The fair is more diverse in style of display than the past, and it witnesses more active consultation among companies for economic and technological exchanges and businesses,” KCNA reported.
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
The fair provides a platform for companies doing business with the DPRK to promote good relations by appearing at the event.
Based on the TV images and photos carried by KCNA, here’s a partial list of some of the companies in attendance:
- BYD (Chinese auto and electrical maker)
- Pyongyang Trading Corp.
- European Business Association (Pyongyang)
- Korea Japanese Friendship Medical Co.
- Korea Jangsu Trading Co.
- Korea Computer Center
- Myohyang Chonho JV Co.
- Ratimir Co. Ltd. (Russian meats company)
- Labiofam Enterprise Group (Cuba)
- Hongkong Hingheng Development
- Kntting Trading Corp.
- Joyang Textile JV
The 16th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair wrapped up at the end of last week. I‘ve taken a look through some of the footage from Korean national television and KCNA and spotted a few companies that were exhibiting.
At last year’s trade fair, the Korea Computer Center debuted a new tablet PC. This year didn’t see any major launches of new IT equipment, at least according to the media coverage, but there were tablet computers on show.
One of the companies highlighted in the national TV coverage was Achim Panda Computer JV, also known as Morning Panda Computer. The company was established in 2002 with China’s Panda Electronics. Kim Jong Il visited the Nanjing Panda factory in 2011 during his trip to China.
As usual, the products on show included the big, like CNC machine tools and cars, the high-tech, like tablet computers, and the edible, like food and drink.
The CNC machines were being shown by Ryonha Machine Tool, which Curtis Melvin has profiled on NK Econwatch. The company has factories in Pyongyang and Huichon, but is hobbled by the inclusion of its parent company, Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, on the U.N. sanctions list.
There was also the luxurious: Tissot watches were on show by P&G Co. The company was profiled in “Foreign Trade” in 2007 and described as “a selling agent of the Swiss watchmakers, serving concurrently as the Koryo Association for the Development of Economic Cooperation (KAD).”
Here are some of the companies that were spotted in the video coverage:
- Ryonha Machine Tool
- Puhung Trading General Corp.
- P & G Co.
- Jangsu Trading Co.
- High-Tech Development Center
- Kumunsan Trading Corp.
- R.C.E. Technology JV
- Achim Panda Computer JV
- MT Regional Resources Sdn Bhd
- Metals & Mining Corp.
- Manbok JV
- Kimhwa Trading Corp.
- Korea Insam Trading Corp.
- Dandong KPR Electronic Co. Ltd.
- Digital Info Technology Pty Ltd.
- Korean Polish Shipping
And here’s a gallery of some of the companies and products on show. Widescreen (16:9) images are from KCNA, standard aspect ratio (4:3) images are from KCTV.
Pyongyang’s Spring International Trade Fair is due to open next week, the state-run Korea Central News Agency reported Monday.
This year’s event will run from May 13 to 16 and will bring together companies from Germany, Malaysia, Mongolia, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Italy, Indonesia, China, Poland and Taiwan, KCNA said.
Vendors will show machines, electric and electronic products, light industrial goods, foodstuffs, medical instruments, medicines, building materials, chemical goods and vehicles, the report said.
Last year’s event saw the debut of a tablet computer said to have been developed by the Korea Computer Center image, right).
The number of Chinese companies attending the event has been growing in previous years as vendors of machinery, electronics, food and clothing have been making the short trip to Pyongyang.
KCNA said the event “will contribute to boosting cooperation and exchange in trade, economic and scientific and technological fields among countries and regions,” and it it comes at an interesting time.
The country’s biggest international trade venture, the Kaesong Industrial Zone, is currently stalled after the DPRK blocked the entry of South Korean workers and withdrew local staff. South Korean companies have now withdrawn all their staff and factories are idle.
While North Korean might prove an interesting market for some companies, the problems in Kaesong underline investment is still only for those with a strong stomach.
The event is one of two major trade fairs that take place in the North Korean capital every year. The other, six months later, is the Autumn International Trade Fair.
This year, it is scheduled to take place between October 21st and 24th.
Earlier I wrote about a new Android tablet computer called Samjiyon that was on show at the 8th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair. Some of the images came from a KCNA video that also included some other highlights from the fair, including other pieces of technology.
The fair lasted from Monday to Thursday and including, according to KCNA, “more than 210 companies and entities from 10 odd countries and regions, including the DPRK, China, Netherlands and Germany.”
Here’s some screen grabs from the report (click the images for a larger version).
First refrigerators from what appears to be China’s Shangling Electric Appliances. One of the refrigerators has a TV with DVD player built into the door.
I can’t make out the company name, but they’ve got lots of flat-screen TVs:
Here are some more laptops. In this shot you can see the price of one of the computers: US$ 330.
A North Korean company says it has developed a tablet computer based on Google’s Android operating system, according to reports from the 8th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair currently taking place.
There’s little actual information on the tablet computer, which was shown in photo coverage by the Associated Press and North Korean state TV. It’s made by a company called “Chosun Computer,” which doesn’t appear to have received any previous coverage in western or North Korean media.
You can see the AP photo on The Wall Street Journal’s Korea Realtime blog, which also talks about the computer. The AP didn’t run a story from the trade fair, which takes place in Pyongyang twice a year, so we’ve only got details from the photo caption and there’s not really anything there.
North Koreans looks at a new tablet product made by North Korea at a trade fair at the Three Revolution Exhibition Hall in Pyongyang Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) — AP photo caption, Sept. 25, 2012
The style and design of the tablet PC’s home screen gives away its Android operating system base.
The Wall Street Journal reached out to Google’s Seoul office, which told the newspaper “it’s possible the North Korean company is legally using Android because it is open-source software.” But that fails to take into account export controls.
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity based in the United States of America. All of our products are developed via online collaboration in public forums and distributed from a central server within the U.S. Therefore, U.S. export laws and regulations apply to our distributions and remain in force as products and technology are re-exported to different parties and places around the world.
ASF software and/or technical data may NOT be exported/reexported, either directly or indirectly, to any destination subject to U.S. embargoes or trade sanctions unless formally authorized by the U.S. Government. — Apache Software Foundation export restrictions.
So, ASF software is governed by export controls, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to interpret them. If anyone knows whether Android falls under U.S. export controls, please email me or leave details in the comments.
Anyway, back to the tablet. Here are some screen grabs from the state TV coverage (click the images for larger versions):
In the right-hand picture on the second row, some of the common Android icons can be seen, including those for the clock, media player, camera, gallery, and settings. There aren’t any icons for email, web or other Internet-based services of course because North Koreans aren’t permitted access to the Internet. Instead the tablet seems to be promoted for offline applications like reading digital books.
The Wall Street Journal notes the “Samjiyon” name on the boxes on the shelf of the booth. That’s the same name as a tablet first reported by the Dong-a-Ilbo back in June. Read more about that on The Marmot’s Hole blog.
It’s worth noting that this is a different tablet computer from one I covered in July. That computer was called “Achim” and came from a company with the generic name “Electronics Development Company,” according to KCNA.
The “Samjiyon” wasn’t the only computer equipment on show at the Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair. From video posted by KCNA, it appears the Pyongyang Informatics Center was also demonstrating a tablet PC.
The Korea Computer Center, one of North Korea’s leading centers of computer studies, showed off a tablet PC running electronic library software at the recent Pyongyang International Trade Fair.
The trade fair, which happens in the spring and autumn each year, is a showcase for the latest products from North Korean companies and from international organizations looking to sell into the DPRK. This year it attracted some 270 companies including foreign participation from the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Switzerland, the UK, Austria, Italy, Finland, Poland, Australia, Malaysia, Mongolia, China and Taiwan, according to state-run KCNA.
The KCC tablet PC was detailed in an interview carried during the evening TV news bulletin with Park Se-Cheol, who was identified as an officer with the New Information Technology Trade Company of the KCC.
Park said the tablet was invented by the Korea Computer Center to enable people to study revolutionary ideas, to use science and technology, to carry out their business and to enjoy movies.
While Park claimed it was developed by the Korea Computer Center, state media has made similar claims recently for laptop computers that were actually developed and manufactured by Chinese companies. The machines were supplied to North Korea for local customization.
In addition to the PC, the Korea Computer Center also showcased two systems that can be used with electronic door locks. The systems use facial recognition, fingerprint recognition and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones.