Black market in North Korea
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Black market in North Korea

When the late North Korean leader – Kim Jong Il opened the Pothonggang Trade Center in December 2010, he declared that this building `played a big role` in improving the quality of life in the capital Pyongyang.

However, this commercial center is also a testament to the development and popularity of the black market in North Korea.

Pothonggang commercial center in Pyongyang.

At Pothonggang, almost every item is listed in both USD and won.

The exchange rate used here is 8,400 won per USD – 80 times higher than the official rate.

Customers pay in USD, then receive change in USD, yuan or North Korean won.

Black market in North Korea

Mobile phones are increasingly popular in North Korea.

Over the past 20 years, North Korea’s economy has changed a lot.

Once considered an item only for the rich, mobile phones have now become very popular in the city.

However, these do not have a major impact on the lives of North Koreans in the countryside.

Demand for hard currency has exploded after failed currency reform.

However, under the Kim Jong Un administration, the country has gradually accepted the prevalence of black market exchange rates.

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