June 17, 2021

NK News is hiring

How to do business in North Korea

Obstacles are many, but so are the opportunities, even despite geopolitical barriers

North Korea regularly attracts media attention for its nuclear program, its foreign policy tactics and sometimes for the supposed impossibility of foreign investors doing decent business in the country. Most North Korea business-centered stories focus on the negative aspects, outlining the unprofitable and even unethical side of business in DPRK.

However, the reality is a far more sober one than this extreme image suggests: The country is not the easiest place for a Westerner to do business but there are genuine opportunities in selected sectors like mining, light industry goods and, most recently, tourism. As information is extremely scarce and the DPRK’s official business promotion materials are very short on substance, potential Western investors often shy away from this market due to a lack of information to act upon and are deterred by the country's negative image abroad.