Crash Landing in North Korea

In North Korea, people have two ways to watch South Korean videos: Some people living near the border with South Korea can directly tune into South Korean TV channels. But more often, the North Korean people watch these videos with smuggled USBs, SD cards, and CDs on devices like DVD players.

Since the early 2000s, South Korean movies and TV shows have become popular in North Korea, even though they're traded illegally. They are sold in the Jangmadang markets, sometimes for a lot of money. The North Korean regime doesn't like this because they worry about people getting influenced by outside information. Even though they try to control it, South Korean entertainment is becoming more popular and profitable.

The trend started in cities close to China and has spread all over North Korea. Some of the favorite shows there are "Autumn in My Heart," "Dae Jang Geum," and "Crash Landing on You."

Mobile phones, known locally as "sonjeonwha," have become a big deal in North Korea. They're so important that they are even included in dowries. As of 2021, about 6 million people in North Korea had smartphones. But they are luxury items, costing between $150 and $800, which is a lot considering the average family lives on $50 a month. Some people even sell their homes to get a phone to help with their businesses. And it's not just adults; young people are also buying phones for fun and to help with their studies and work.