November 24, 2014 09:51
North Korea is seeing the emergence of a class of young entrepreneurs who make hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars from private businesses and spend them on bling much like their counterparts elsewhere.
A source says North Koreans who were born in the 1980s and 90s are becoming more active making money as they were able to embrace a wave of changes caused by a nascent market-based economy there. They use smartphones and other gadgets to gather the information they need for their business and have formed nationwide sales networks.
The source said in major cities like Pyongyang, Hamheung, Chongjin and Wonsan, these up-and-coming sell smartphones and real estate, run gas stations, lend money, and run coffee shops and retail stores -- a significant change from the pursuits of the older generation.
Young property developers buy new apartments, kit them out with materials imported from China, and sell them for a hefty profit. They also set up gas filling stations in major cities or open rest-stops along highways.
One recent North Korean defector said mobile phone sales are particularly popular among young North Koreans. A trader buys up to several hundred mobile phones to sell them at retail prices.
Others lend money for interest, which has also proven to be a lucrative business.
But another source said there are as yet few places where the nouveau riche can spend their money and the risk of getting stung by state security agents is always present.
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