On a factory tour in North Korea, the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un demoed a smartphone device that was reportedly 100 per cent North Korea-built.
Exact details of the smartphone aren’t yet known, but the leader allegedly praised the device for its high quality camera. It is thought that although the ‘home grown’ phone runs Google’s Android operating system, all of its components are manufactured within the country.
However, analysts from outside North Korea have disputed these claims, insisting that the device is most likely to have been made in China, as there were no signs of manufacturing within the May 11 factory itself.
Back in 2012 North Korea launched a tablet supposedly made in the country, though it was later discovered that parts of the tablet’s software code had instead derived in Hong Kong.
The significance of a North Korean-made cannot be underestimated; mobile phones were only made available within the country in 2008, and even since then their use has been heavily restricted. It is illegal to make calls to people outside of the country, and it is thought that residents that live close to the border do so illegally using secretly-owned mobile phones.
Smartphones cannot be used to access the internet in North Korea either; foreigners were permitted access for a short period, but this privilege has since been withdrawn.
On his factory tour, Kim Jong Un commented that it was important “in making people love Korean things”, though it is evident that the need to have North Korean-built technology means far more than that to the country’s ‘self-sufficient’ government.
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Written by Charlotte Kertrestel