December 05, 2011 07:40
Kim Min-jong, a 26-year-old student in the Department of North Korean Studies at Korea University, made the country's first Smartphone app providing expert information on North Korea. Over 1,000 people have downloaded it in the week since its launch, and the app is in the region of 20th on Podgate, which ranks the top 300 most popular apps.
Kim planned and produced the app, and spent W5 million (US$1=W1,126) to make the project a reality through an app developer. It can be downloaded for free on Android.
The app contains demographic, political and administrative information about North Korea, comparisons of North and South Korean military power, a family tree of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the regime's power structure, and latest news. One function gives users an idea of how much damage Seoul would sustain if a North Korean nuclear missile hit it. It shows estimated casualties when the missile hits specific part of the South Korean capital.
"I encountered Smartphone apps when I was in New Zealand on a summer English language course in 2010," Kim said. "I'm very interested in North Korean issues and that is also my major. I thought the Unification Ministry must have made an app about this, but it hadn't, so I decided to make one myself."
He collected information from websites and the press, comparing information and reclassifying it by subject.
After coming back to Korea last summer, he visited many app developers with his business plan. Most of them demanded at least W10 million to produce it or declined saying things related to North Korea could be troublesome.
"If I'd charged a fee, even just W500, the production cost would have been covered," Kim said. "But I didn't do it for profit. I wanted as many people as possible, especially young people, to learn more about North Korea."
He plans to keep updating the app and make it available for iPhones and in English and Chinese.
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