North Korea’s Top 10 consumer items

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Dong Yong-sueng, a senior fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea, is regularly compiling a Top 10 list of the most demanded consumer items in North Korea. Now the newest list is out.

Dong has done surveys on the Top 10 consumer items in North Korea since 2010, basing her findings on interviews with North Korean defectors and Chinese traders on the Sino-North Korean border.

2012’s list contains the following items:

Polka-dot dresses
Manual treshing machines
Mobile phones
USB sticks
Condoms
Energy drinks
Chocolate pies
Plateau shoes
Bottled water
Instant coffee mix

north-korea_polka
North Korea’s first lady Ri Sol-ju is the new fashion icon for her compatriots

The demand for polka-dot dresses stems from public appearances of Ri Sol-ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in such clothing which equals a fashion revolution in a land where strait-tailored military-style jackets and grey trousers and skirts are the daily wear.

Manual threshing machines made the list most likely due to the prevalence of frequent power cuts in the countryside. While the popularity of mobile phones, USB sticks, energy drinks, cake and bottled water – hardly available in the country – speaks for itself, it is not entirely clear why plateau shoes made it on the list apart from the fact that they were preferably worn by late leader King Jong-il.

And the rising demand for condoms has been ascribed to the fact that North Korea has started issuing domestic travel licenses more willingly – which are mandatory for citizens to move around in the country – and which, in turn, has reportedly sparked a boom in lodging and adult entertainment for fun-starved locals.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Dong Yong-sueng, a senior fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea, is regularly compiling a Top 10 list of the most demanded consumer items in North Korea. Now the newest list is out.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Dong Yong-sueng, a senior fellow at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea, is regularly compiling a Top 10 list of the most demanded consumer items in North Korea. Now the newest list is out.

Dong has done surveys on the Top 10 consumer items in North Korea since 2010, basing her findings on interviews with North Korean defectors and Chinese traders on the Sino-North Korean border.

2012’s list contains the following items:

Polka-dot dresses
Manual treshing machines
Mobile phones
USB sticks
Condoms
Energy drinks
Chocolate pies
Plateau shoes
Bottled water
Instant coffee mix

north-korea_polka
North Korea’s first lady Ri Sol-ju is the new fashion icon for her compatriots

The demand for polka-dot dresses stems from public appearances of Ri Sol-ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in such clothing which equals a fashion revolution in a land where strait-tailored military-style jackets and grey trousers and skirts are the daily wear.

Manual threshing machines made the list most likely due to the prevalence of frequent power cuts in the countryside. While the popularity of mobile phones, USB sticks, energy drinks, cake and bottled water – hardly available in the country – speaks for itself, it is not entirely clear why plateau shoes made it on the list apart from the fact that they were preferably worn by late leader King Jong-il.

And the rising demand for condoms has been ascribed to the fact that North Korea has started issuing domestic travel licenses more willingly – which are mandatory for citizens to move around in the country – and which, in turn, has reportedly sparked a boom in lodging and adult entertainment for fun-starved locals.

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