April 17, 2019

YOUR NEXT GULAG WILL BE A VOLT:

Cheap solar panels power consumer appliance boom in North Korea (Hyonhee Shin, 4/17/19, Reuters) 

Years after they first appeared in North Korea, increasingly cheap and available solar panels are giving a boost to consumer consumption and industry as Pyongyang tries to limit the impact of tough international sanctions. [...]

Now ever more households, factories and businesses are equipped with solar panels, leading to a greater variety of home electronics products available in increasingly common private markets known as jangmadang, defectors and recent visitors say.

Among the hottest selling items are water purifiers, hair straighteners and electric bicycles, mostly from China but some made in North Korea or even smuggled in from South Korea.

"A few years ago, such things as water purifiers, mixers and rice cookers were only seen at some restaurants and rich households, but they are becoming commonplace, especially in cities," said Kang Mi-jin, an economic expert who regularly speaks with North Koreans for Daily NK, a website run by defectors.

"Some would look just like an ordinary middle-class South Korean home, with a wall-hanging LED TV, multiple laptops and electric mini cars for babies."

Posted by at April 17, 2019 7:23 PM

  

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