North Korean women in Beijing. Pyongyang is taking a step toward online commerce through the introduction of a website that allows North Koreans to make domestic purchases through the use of a North Korean smart card. File Photo by UPI Photo/Stephen Shaver. | License Photo
SEOUL, April 1 (UPI) -- North Korea has introduced a new e-commerce site where buyers can purchase goods through the Internet and their mobile phones.
Yonhap reported North Korea's state-controlled media outlet announced Wednesday Pyongyang's People's Service Bureau launched online shopping mall "Ok Ryu" so North Koreans may conveniently buy consumer products, medicine, as well as food items directly sourced from North Korean restaurants.
North Korea's push into information technology is part of Kim Jong Un's plan to improve North Korea's standards of living.
Transactions are to take place through the use of an electronic card. Consumer activity online, said North Korea's KCNA, fosters "the (North Korean) people's convenience, and aims to motivate worker enthusiasm and drive production."
The website includes a search capability that enables users to find products through the use of keywords. KCNA said they then complete the order through the use of a smart card that contains an integrated circuit, or a computer chip.
Manufacturers directly receive orders. North Korean media claimed the products are of good quality and are available at a "reasonable price."
Ok Ryu is not the first e-commerce website in North Korea.
In 2006, Pyongyang's Rakwon Department Store launched the "Kwangmyong" website but little information was given at the time.
South Korean news site Newsis reported products ordered through the new website can also be delivered directly to customers.
Kim recently stressed the importance of producing an economic surplus that could be used to boost North Korean exports.