I want to invest in North Korea and you ?

The National Defense Commission (NDC) OF North Korea indicate that the country may be about to test a nuclear device – the third such instance, following two earlier tests in 2006 and 2009.

Will it limit the increase of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in North Korea ?  Will it cut Chinese FDI in North Korea?

I don’t believe so.

The foreign investors which are already in North Korea understood that the North Korean threat is not existing (even taking in account potential nuclear tests). Even pessimistic investors who are living in Pyongyang thinks that the threat is exaggerated. Therefore who we can believe: those who are far away from Pyongyang or westerners/foreigners who are living in the country and are inside the mix ?

Even enemies of North Korea (Japan and South Korea) belong to those who invest the most in the “dangerous” North Korea.

Invest or not invest ? That is the question….Of course it’s hard to answer to this question in a few lines, however I would like to introduce to you my point of view.


Felix Abt : a swiss businessman who lived 7 years in North korea where he managed different businesses. He’s strongly lobbying against economic sanctions which hurt legitimate investments in North Korea. He published a book entitled A Capitalist in North Korea . I will come back to this issue in a few days. (source of the picture: Felix Abt twitter account https://twitter.com/felixabt)

I consider that foreign companies should invest in North Korea because it may change the daily life of the North Korean population (in spite of what are saying some specialists, not only the population of Pyongyang may be enjoying FDI and western products but also citizens of other parts of the country).

Do you know that the market of refrigerators is already under the control of a Chinese company? Do you want to improve the daily life o this population? Offering them daily products may change the market in this country but also the point of view of some crucial elites which are managing the country. North-Korean companies need also FDI in order to be able to answer to the needs of the population and to the technical challenge. These companies need foreign funds.

I truly believe that the economical diplomacy (according to the Wikipedia, economic diplomacy is traditionally defined as the decision-making, policy-making and advocating of the sending state-business interests. ) may change the situation in North Korea. However, an economical opening may impact on the nature of the regime ? I’m not convinced taking in account the example of Central Asia countries. In this region, economical reforms didn’t implied changes in the political system (I’m especially thinking to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan). Nevertheless I would like to invite you to invest in North Korea. It may change the deal.

See you in Pyongyang ?

Never forget: Two of the most important enemies of North Korea belong to those who invest the most in this country.

Number of Joint Ventures with North Korean companies Country of origin
205 China
15 Japan
10 South Korea

(South Korean sources)

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