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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
A North Korean IT company has launched a virtual makeup application for local smartphone users, state-run DPRK Today reported on Wednesday.
The app, named “Pomhyanggi 1.0,” developed by the Kyonghung Information Technology Exchange Company, reportedly helps women “improve their appearance.”
It’s name means “scent of spring” and is the same as one of North Korea’s oldest cosmetic brands.
“Women bear the same thought of making their appearance more beautiful at the bottom of their heart. [They think about] how they can become more pretty by using which makeup method and what kind of makeup tools,” the DPRK Today said.
The app enables users to “try various ways to put on makeup by using standard makeup methods and beauty tools provided the program in a virtual environment.”
A photo provided by the DPRK Today shows the app offers various makeup tools, including artificial eyelashes, lipsticks, new hairstyles, and hair accessories.
“The users can find the most suitable makeup looks for themselves by applying various makeup method and find more detailed information about corresponding makeup method…,” DPRK Today reported.
“The program for smartphone Pomhyanggi 1.0 is being used while being favorably reviewed among women.”
Numerous foreign cosmetic companies have rolled out similar apps allowing customers to try on different makeup looks.
The French company Sephora, for one, last year launched an augmented reality (AR) app to allow users to experiment with their cosmetic products.
Though Pomhyanggi is one of North Korea’s most well-known cosmetic brands, it’s still unclear whether the app is connected to the company: another company called the Korea Pomhyanggi Joint Corporation also manufactures the “Kumgangsan”-brand of cosmetics.
The app’s developer, the Kyonghung Information Technology Company, is a subsidiary of the Korea Kyonghung Trading Corporation, online outlet Naenara reported in October 2015.
The company appears to be something of a conglomerate, engaging in diverse businesses including “commercial and public catering, foodstuff and clothes processing, shipbuilding, wholesale trade, IT development and equity and contractual joint ventures.”
The emergence of virtual makeover app also comes amid something of a boom in the North Korean cosmetics industry.
Apart from the launch of the virtual makeover app, the North’s Kumgangsan cosmetic product operates an area providing makeup tutorials at its showroom, DPRK Today reported on Saturday.
The company also provides services to check the skin condition of its customers and laser treatments.
“Socialist emulation” has been underway among “major factories in the light industry” this year, DPRK Today reported on Tuesday, with the state encouraging factories to compete with each other to improve the quality of their products.
“The purpose of the socialist emulation is to produce more cosmetics and shoes which have the world-class competitiveness and are fit for our people’s tastes, characteristics, and diverse hobbies,” DPRK Today said.
Apps have also been developed for more practical purposes. The DPRK Hydro-meteorological Service, for example, recently developed a specialized program providing weather information for mobile phone users, the DPRK Today reported earlier in the month.
Users of the app “Agricultural Weather” can access “professional materials of the agricultural weather conditions and agricultural technical measures in relation to seasonal weather conditions.”
Users of the app can check weather forecasts, precipitation, accumulated temperature, soil temperature, as well as receive “crop growth forecasts.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: NK News