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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Can one be optimistic about investing in DPRK?

The giant fail that is Koryolink was highlighted by Bloomberg as one of the foreign investments in North Korea that have tanked, begging the question why would anyone put in money there? The piece notes Orascom Telecom Media and Technology’s (OTMT) inability to repatriate profits, Kim Jong Un’s elevation of a rival telecommunication network, and reports that the DPRK hacked OTMT for corporate espionage. “The emergence of a state-owned competitor and the strict economic sanctions made our operation much less attractive,” an OTMT spokeswoman said.

The analysis comes as US President Donald Trump is set to hold a historic summit with Kim in Singapore that could potentially open the country up to foreign investors. While history does suggest that the DPRK has a well-deserved reputation as a corporate graveyard, optimism still prevails. “North Korea is now where China was in the 1980s,” the chairman of Rogers Holdings Jim Rogers said. “It’s going to be the most exciting country in the world for the next 20 years. Everything in North Korea is an opportunity.” Even OTMT remains optimistic, with its spokesperson saying: “The lifting of sanctions and peace between the two Koreas will improve the overall business climate in the DPRK and will have a positive impact on Koryolink.”

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