March 11, 2010 07:50
Well-to-do North Koreans have been hoarding South Korean goods since a disastrous currency reform, Open Radio for North Korea said Wednesday.
"Wealthy people in Pyongyang prefer goods to cash as they have lost confidence in the North Korean currency since the reform," it said. "Demand for South Korean goods, which are considered best quality, has more than doubled."
The broadcaster quoted a Korean-Chinese trader dealing with the North as saying, "Growing numbers of people want to smuggle South Korean products and sell them in the North despite a crackdown by North Korean customs." It said the widespread perception among North Koreans is that South Korean goods are of much better quality than Japanese or Chinese products.
Sinuiju Customs Office lets small quantities of South Korean goods that do not seem to be for sale pass through on condition that they do not carry "Made in Korea" labels, but is strict about seizing larger quantities.
Favorite products include luxury goods like necklaces and earrings, electronic home appliances such as TV sets, DVD players, digital cameras, and laptop computers, toiletries, air fresheners, and clothing.
Pyongyang is believed to be home to an estimated 1,000 dollar millionaires, the radio station said.
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