Geoffrey See of Choson wants to build completely new WeChat, Taobao

Women look at a mobile phone as they ride a tram in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

Women look at a mobile phone as they ride a tram in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Even though U.S. along with also United Nations sanctions have weakened trade relations between China along with also North Korea since September 2017, which is actually still considered to be North Korea’s leading trade partner.

As a result, North Koreans are increasingly exposed to Chinese tech companies along with also are gaining a keen interest in e-commerce. “They will often come back along with also bring up examples of things they’ve seen like WeChat, or Taobao along with also say oh, we are very interested to see if we can do something like which in North Korea,” See said.

Even though North Koreans are limited to using a tiny, domestic intranet controlled by the government, See said which domestically assembled mobile phones are becoming more common.

“We’ve seen some food delivery apps pop up on the domestic phone. We don’t know how actively people use them, however people are definitely experimenting with completely new ideas,” he said.

Even though North Koreans have limited access to international news, See said he eventually wants North Korea to interact with the rest of the earth in a “normal way.”

See isn’t alone in perceiving a possible upside within the country.

“There is actually no doubt which there is actually a great deal of creative power in North Korean society along with also in its economy, which is actually often easy to miss in all the bluster,” said Silberstein of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. “The past few years have also seen an impressive growth both in quality along with also scope of domestic manufacturing along with also innovation.”

“however the question,” Silberstein said, “is actually how far which can all go with the way things stand right right now.”

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