- Samsung laptops and cameras popular
- Young women favour men with such products
- Students going into debt to amass the dollars necessary to buy
A twenty year old male studying at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang says that many North Koreans have a liking for South Korean electronics products but there is, particularly amongst the young, a trendy competitive element involved in their acquisition.
Samsung products are especially popular and their laptops, camcorders, and digital cameras are notably in demand.
Given the permanent economic morass in the North, the vast majority of struggling families are unable to acquire such costly goods, but the children of those involved in foreign currency earning trades and activities often have at least one South Korean electronic product.
"Students who want but can't afford to buy an MP3 or electronic notebook pool resources with or borrow money from their friends," said the source.
Those who get hold of the products enjoy the social cachet of South Korean electronic goods ownership from friends, women, and even professors, who all assume they are of an influential family caste.
"There's supposed to be official control on the spread of South Korean goods," said the source, "but given that the popular preference for these products is greatest amongst the very class with elite influence it is control in name only. They are finding there way to Pyongyang markets via those who are able to trade abroad, especially with Chinese businesses."
The price is usually settled in dollars or yuan. Samsung laptops go for 800 - 1200 dollars, about 5000 to 7000 yuan. Any followed-through upon crackdown will see the cost rise even further.
Translation by Danny Lee