“No Dolls in the People’s Republic”

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak By Kim Chan Ku, Researcher in the Institute for Far Eastern Studies – 2007.11.05 1:26am [imText1]For the first visit to Pyongyang, I was there as a tourist. Since there was few to meet, I did not pay attention to presents. A couple of socks, scarf were enough just in case for meeting business partners. From the second visit on, I have prepared various commodities including scarves, leather gloves, shirts, ties, watches, fountain pens, pairs of glasses, etc. Since I had no idea whom to meet at that time, I picked presents fit for everyone. However, I soon found out that my presents were not used next time we met, because of pressure from other people. So, from then on, I had bought ones not quite noticeable, such as medicine, underwear, pairs of socks, etc. Some of the presents were made in USA. For others, they were from South Korea. ‘Made in R.O.K.’ label was also a problem. At first, customs officers confiscated all South Korean products (American and Chinese were spared). So next time, I cut the label off and passed the customs. One day, a high ranking party official asked me to bring toys for children. He specifically wanted puppy, rabbit, and cub dolls. As I handed in those dolls to the official, he said “In the People’s Republic (of Korea), we have no factories to produce such toys… Children would love these toys.” There was no doll production factory in North Korea at that time. Even at the model Chang-gwang Kindergarten, where most foreign visitors have tours, kids only had same wood or plastic toys. There was no doll. Suddenly, an idea popped in my head. “In South Korea now, labor-intensive factories are moving to Southeast Asia. What if world-famous South Korean doll factories that lost its competitiveness can come to North Korea?” Then, I tried to find factory owners in Seoul who was willing to move to the North. Once one of the world’s largest and exporting more than 40 million US dollars to the US, company A fell into debt due to rising production cost. CEO of Shinho Co., Lee Soon-gook, bought the company. I was able to meet him and persuaded him to invest in North Korea. I met the CEO through one of the largest Korean zaibatsu at that time, Byuksan Group. And Byuksan was looking for ways to invest slate production in North Korea at that time. After consulting with Shinho, I sent three thousands models along with blueprints to North Korean counterpart. News News AvatarKim Chan Ku, Researcher in the Institute for Far Eastern Studies “No Dolls in the People’s Republic”center_img SHARE News Facebook Twitter News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more