Creating New Opportunities

Since the 1990s, the markets in North Korea, known as Jangmadang, have become the beating heart of the country's economy. These markets aren't just a place to shop; they have created jobs for millions of people who now run their own little businesses, instead of working for government-owned companies.

Now, there are new industries popping up like transportation services for moving goods around, places to store stuff, and even lodging services. Besides getting a job, people go to these markets to buy everything they need in their daily lives. And because different sellers are trying to offer the best prices, everyone wants to shop there.

This healthy competition is also helping government businesses keep going, especially when they aren't getting enough supplies from the government itself.

Before the year 2000, the main people selling in the markets were Chinese people living in North Korea and local farmers. But the supply chain has grown significantly, bringing in more variety.

Here’s what changed: In 2003, the government allowed companies to enter the market scene, which means trading companies became big-time suppliers. Some traders became known as "king of wholesalers," bringing in official and even unofficial goods, including goods from black markets at a larger scale.

Regular people started selling things they made at home, like alcohol and noodles, and farmers began selling more of their own crops directly in the markets. Government businesses are also supplying much of their goods to the markets.