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Chinese summer clothing gains popularity in North Korean markets

Summer clothing imported from China is selling well in Yanggang Province’s city of Hyesan, Daily NK has learned.

“With the weather getting hotter, summer clothes are appearing earlier in Hyesan markets this year,” a source told Daily NK on June 21, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Chinese imports, particularly women’s undergarments, blouses, and running shirts for both genders, are especially popular.”

The source noted that Chinese summer wear imported through Hyesan Customs has recently gained favor among North Koreans. Top-selling items include blouses, lace bras, lightweight women’s running shirts, and 100% cotton men’s running shirts.

“Chinese summer clothes are cheaper, more fashionable, and better quality than domestic products,” the source explained. “This is why people prefer them over North Korean-made clothing.”

Popular Chinese blouses cost between RMB 30 to 50 (approximately USD 4.20 to 7.00). While some exceed RMB 100 (USD 14.00), lower-priced options are more sought after, with only affluent buyers opting for pricier items.

Bras range from 15,000 to 50,000 North Korean won (USD 1.60 to 5.50). Many people seek them out because they are superior in every way to North Korean bras that are KPW 25,000 at their cheapest and sometimes exceed KPW 50,000.

Chinese-made running shirts for both men and women are also preferred due to their superior quality and competitive pricing.

State-led smuggling is providing some economic relief

As market activity increases and imported goods reach inland regions, wholesalers are seeing a rise in business.

“The market is slowly regaining momentum,” the source noted. “If this trend continues, it could improve livelihoods for porters, carters, and merchants alike.”

While living standards remain below pre-pandemic levels, the source added that state-sanctioned smuggling and small-scale commerce are providing some economic relief.

“People are at least earning some money now and are no longer on the brink of starvation,” the source concluded.

Translated by Annie Eunjung Kim.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

July 03, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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