Intensified crackdowns on illegal South Korean electronics in the North have failed to deter people from getting their hands on home appliances produced by major global companies like Samsung and LG Electronics. Their popularity has trickled down from donju [new affluent middle class] to laymen, with some of the richest donju even using direct overseas purchases to evade government surveillance.
“People prefer South Korean electronics such as ‘Cuckoo’ brand rice cookers, and it’s becoming more the trend for Party cadres to have at least two to three products from the South [in their homes],” a source from North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on Wednesday.
“There has been heated demand for South Korean electronics among residents in Pyongyang and other cities, he added, noting that those scrambling to procure the goods are no longer only the elite, but also ordinary people who consider having products like ‘Cuckoo’ rice cookers as a trendy option over Japanese goods.
Goods from the South are confiscated in the markets, but the vast majority of electronics that come through Sinuiju and Rasun are directly delivered to homes without passing through markets or shops, according to the source, who explained that delivery men are available at the ready to set you up with an array of goods from the South–so long as you can pay, that is.
Smuggling doesn’t only involve drugs, weapons, the wrong sort of information, and the occasional dissident. Ideologically impure consumer goods – from aliens, psions, enemy nations, and the like – would make a nice revenue stream as well!
But can your PCs set up a truly smooth distribution network, from the starport to the summer homes of the local elites – and handle the money coming in?