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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.
North Korea earlier this week wrapped up its first-ever national cosmetics exhibition with the aim of developing the industry with cooperation from local major players, the Tokyo-based pro-North Korea Choson Sinbo reported on Monday.
The week-long national cosmetics show, co-hosted by the Central Committee of the General Federation of Science and Technology of Korea (GFSTK) and the Ministry of Consumer Goods Industry, was held between November 11 and 18 at the Pyongyang Yokjon Department Store.
The Choson Sinbo, the organ of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), said the exhibition was organized for the first time in the DPRK with the goal of “developing the cosmetics industry to a higher level.”
The show kicked off on the same day as the first “Pyongyang International Agriculture and Foodstuff Exhibition,” in which “over 60 companies of different countries” including China participated.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 11 said approximately 930 types of cosmetic products totaling 137,000 units, as well as around 80 types of essential oils, were on display.
Dozens of domestic industrial producers including the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory, the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory, the Pyongyang Essential Oil Factory, and the Ryongaksan Soap Factory attended the exhibition.
“60 research findings made in the field of the cosmetics industry” were also presented at the show.
The factories displayed cosmetics and essential oils “symbolic and typical of their units” and “received reviews from the people through science and technology exchanges and sales,” KCNA said.
In addition to showcasing major products, there were various events including lectures on the “development trend and direction of the cosmetics industry, the concept and development trend of ultraviolet rays protection cosmetics, and the development of natural aromatics extraction” and its production and utilization.
North Korean party daily the Rodong Sinmun on November 10 noted that the first national cosmetics exhibition coincided with the country’s Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on November 16.
The Rodong Sinmun said the exhibition was divided into two sessions: displaying the products and presenting scientific technology.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
November 12 saw the North Korean party daily report that minister of the Consumer Goods Industry Ri Kang Son and vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the GFSTK Kye Hui Nam attended the opening ceremony held the previous day.
Ri said “scientific and technical achievements and experiences,” learned in the process of operating the cosmetics industry on a Juche, modern, scientific, and IT basis and by localizing the production of essential oils, were expected to be shared at the exhibition.
“The speaker emphasized that this exhibition… would be a good opportunity to promote the development of the country’s cosmetics industry,” the North Korean party daily said.
The GFSTK’s presence itself is also noteworthy: in April 1946, the late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung established its forerunner, dubbed as the Industrial Technology Federation (ITF), according to KCNA in April 2016.
KCNA has previously said the GFSTK “promotes the development of the nation’s science and technology” and “guides the April 15 technical innovation shock brigades consisting of tens of thousands of technicians and skilled workers active at many industrial establishments and farms across the country.”
The Rodong Sinmun also featured two articles dedicated to promoting the exhibition on November 14 and 15.
The Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory’s cosmetics, which showcased 50,000 units of 460 types of Unhasu-brand products, were the “most popular” at the exhibition, the North Korean party daily said on November 14, adding that participant’s response to the displayed items was “really great.”
The article said the factory showcased various products including functional, medical, and make-up cosmetics while “forecasting an increase in the people’s demand” on Mother’s Day.
People also “really liked” the cosmetics because they are “cheap,” the Rodong Sinmun added.
The Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory used local raw materials for their dyeing cream and facial masks, the party daily noted, while highly evaluating the standard of cosmetic containers and packaging boxes.
Around 320 types of Pomhyanggi-brand products manufactured by the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory were also on display, the paper said.
The factory also provided services with its facial skin diagnosis machine, which helps customers select an appropriate cosmetic based on the outcome of its skin analysis.
Looking at the Pomhyanggi-brand products, North Korean visitors “were greatly delighted that they no longer use imported cosmetics such as lipstick, eyeshadow, and mascara.”
The Korea Kumgangsan J.V. CO. (Joint Venture Corporation) also displayed around 120 types of “high-quality cosmetics” at the exhibition, including collagen-based cosmetics set and whitening products, while providing a service that measures a person’s facial skin.
On November 15, the Rodong Sinmun reported on the debut of a newly developed “night cream” from the Hangryon Technology Exchange Company.
“The use of night cream is very significant for women pursuing beauty. Experts say that night time is very important for women in managing their facial skin nutrition,” the party daily said, promoting the cream’s whitening and wrinkle-removing effect.
Edited by James Fretwell and Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)