N. Korea to import 100,000 smartphones from China this year

SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to import about 100,000 smartphones from China this year, a report said Tuesday.

China is planning to export a total of 500,000 mobile phones to the North and 100,000 of them will be smartphones, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia report said, referring to a Chinese government official's posting on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website.

Chinese smartphones sell for about 1,000 Chinese yuan (US$163.27) per unit in China, but the price tag comes to 2,800 yuan per unit in North Korea, the report said, adding profits from the price difference will go into the pocket of the North Korean regime.

Well-to-do North Koreans or governing party officials usually own smartphones in the communist country, and they are partly allowed to use video calls and wireless subscription to media outlets like the mainstream Rodong Sinmun, according to the report.

About 2 million North Koreans are reported to own mobile phones.

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