June 02, 2023

The Hoeryong model: how a sleepy N. Korean town experienced an economic boom

The 1990s saw the border city become a hub of private enterprise - and many got rich

It is widely understood among Korea watchers that towns in the North lucky enough to be situated near the Chinese border tend to be the most prosperous. The richest of these towns, Sinuiju and Rason, are reputed to be more or less equal to Pyongyang in terms of the per capita income enjoyed by their inhabitants.

Less prominent urban areas have also benefited greatly from flourishing trade with China. In this regard, the city of Hoeryong is no exception.