Shinuiju ‘Leisure Activity-Price’, Close Look – “So Surprising!!”

[imText1]It costs 100 won($0.03) to borrow a comic book, 5,000 won($1.67) per hour to use a singing room, and 1,000 won($0.33) to use a computer for an hour in an internet café…….

These prices are not ones of a certain city in South Korea. They are the prices of Shinuiju in North Korea.

Meanwhile, DailyNK has introduced the recent prices of each Jangmadang in North Korea. The prices are of necessities such as rice and other grains, house sale prices, electrical charges, and water charges. These prices have been used as criteria to estimate the real living conditions of current North Koreans. After the 7.1 Economic Management Improvement Measure in 2000, prices in North Korea have been sharply increasing. For the past few years, the inflation of North Korea has indeed been ‘murderous’ following the consecutively excessive issues of the 500 won currency, 1,000 won currency, and 5,000 won currency.

This time, DailyNK investigated major luxury and leisure life-prices.

Cities that can provide North Koreans with leisure facilities to enjoy are only Pyongyang, Shinuiju, Chongin, Hamhung, and Rasun. These cities possess big theaters, amusement parks, and swimming pools. Especially Shinuiju, which is close to China, has been introduced with foreign cultures and commodities very quickly. Shinuiju residents are also in the highest economic class of the North Koreans. Thus, Shinuiju has internet cafes, singing rooms, saunas, massage rooms, and comic bookstores.

The investigation was carried out by traders visiting Shinuiju in March and attaining the price levels concerned and then DailyNK gathered the information and cross-examined it.

A Chinese trader who informed us of each fruit price sold at a Jangmadang in Shinuiju told us, “It is really difficult for lay North Koreans to eat even an apple each year,” and so, “Do not misunderstand that the price is a general one in North Korea because fruit is one of the most luxurious articles.”

Also, another trader emphasized that, “The official wage of North Korean workers is about 3,000 won. At the same time, the price for using a singing room per hour is 5,000 won. It shows how badly North Korea has been transformed,” adding that, “Shinuiju is the city where traders doing business with big money from North Korea and China gather. Such singing rooms, PC rooms, and saunas are just for them.”

Items marked by dollars in the price index below are usually paid in dollars, not North Korean won. A Chinese businessman who participated in the price investigation informed us that, “Currently in North Korea, the dollar is used frequently enough to be called ‘common currency’ and has more exchange value,” adding, “As trading costly articles, their paying in dollars makes them win credits.” He also said that, “That the dollar is exchanged into North Korea won is welcomed, yet to exchange the won into dollars is often impossible, even double the value.”

Now, in the early of April, the exchange rate of the dollar in North Korean black markets is roughly 3,000 won against the dollar.

□ Computer-related prices (conformed in March 14)

A 17inch Pentium Ⅲ is 110~120 dollars at retail price (90 dollars at wholesale price)/ A printer is 65~70 dollars / 10 Floppy discs are 5,000 won / A keyboard is 20 dollars / A mouse is 5 dollars.

□ Snacks and side meal prices (confirmed in March 28~31)

A roast chicken is 6,500-8,000 won / A roast duck is 9,000~12,000 won / 750g of noodles are 2,400 won / A box of Korean noodles is 6,750 won / A box of rice cakes is 8,000 won /A box of snacks is 4,700 won / 1 kg of sweet potatoes is 300 won / 1kg of potatoes is 400 won / Beans of 1kg is 700 won / wheat flour of 1kg is 750won(690 won at wholesale price)/ Milk of 400g is 5,000 won/ Butter powder of 1kg is 5,000 won / Baking powder of 25g is 400 won / Chinese noodles of 1kg is 2,000 won / dried cuttlefish of 1kg is 8,800 won.

□ Each fruit price (confirmed in March 28~31)

Mandarin of 1kg is 1,800 won / Pear of 1kg is 1,200 won / Tomato of 1kg is 2,000 won / A bundle of Banana is 5,500 won / Apple of 1 kg is 1,200 won / A watermelon of 3kg is 9,000 won / A box of strawberry is 9,000 won.

□ Costs for leisure activities (confirmed in March 28~31)

A movie admission fee is 50 won / A comic book is 1,500 won, and borrowing it is 100 won / Swimming pool is 70 won a person / A Mangyongdae playground admission fee is 50 won an adult and 20 won an child / The use of a singing room is 5,000 won per hour / A sauna bath admission fee is 2,500 won / A reel of film is 9,000-15,000 won / Developing film of 10-18cm is 800 won.

□ Other prices (confirmed in April 28~31)

A sanitary napkin is 500 won, 600won, and 1,000 won / Skin lotions of three kinds are 42,000 won / Aloe cosmetics of three kinds are 42,000 won / A set of cosmetics (a skin cream and a skin lotion) is 10,000 won (made in South Korea), 3,500 won (made in China) / Small gas cooking stove is 27,000 won (made in South Korea / 25,000 won in a wholesale price) / An electric bicycle is 150-200 won.

Questions or comments about this article? Contact us at