Profitable business ideas in North Korea | profitable business ventures

North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, has long been a country shrouded in mystery and isolation. However, recent developments have hinted at the possibility of economic reforms and opportunities for business ventures within the nation. While doing business in North Korea can present unique challenges, it also holds the potential for lucrative opportunities. In this article, we will explore some profitable business ideas that could thrive in North Korea’s evolving economic landscape.

North Korea’s potential for business ventures lies in its untapped resources and emerging sectors. One such area is tourism, as the nation boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, historical sites, and cultural heritage. With a growing interest in exploring lesser-known destinations, North Korea has the potential to become an attractive tourist destination. Moreover, sectors such as agriculture, mining, and energy offer opportunities for foreign investment and partnerships, as the country seeks to improve its self-sufficiency and modernize its industries.

Despite the potential, it is essential to note that doing business in North Korea requires careful consideration of the unique political and legal environment. International sanctions, limited infrastructure, and bureaucratic challenges are factors that should be taken into account. It is crucial for businesses to conduct thorough research, establish local connections, and navigate the regulatory framework effectively.

Nevertheless, for those willing to undertake the necessary due diligence and navigate the complexities, North Korea could present intriguing opportunities for profitable business ventures.

Profitable business ideas in North Korea

The following are list of Profitable business ideas in North Korea:

  1. Agriculture and food processing
  2. Tourism and hospitality
  3. Manufacturing and export industries
  4. Renewable energy projects
  5. Education and training services
  6. IT services and software development
  7. E-commerce platforms
  8. Health and wellness services
  9. Real estate development
  10. Manufacturing consumer goods
  11. Entertainment industry
  12. Transport and logistics services
  13. Eco-tourism initiatives
  14. Handicrafts and traditional arts
  15. Financial services
  16. Aquaculture and seafood processing
  17. Waste management and recycling
  18. Beauty and wellness industry
  19. Restaurant and food services
  20. Import-export business

How does North Korea earn money?

North Korea is a country with a highly centralized and isolated economy, where the government controls all means of production and sets the economic priorities and plans. North Korea has been following the principle of self-reliance (juche) since 1954, which means that it tries to minimize its dependence on foreign trade and aid.

However, North Korea has also faced many economic challenges, such as the collapse of its former allies in the Soviet bloc, natural disasters, sanctions, and chronic food shortages.

Some of the main sectors of the North Korean economy are:

  1. Military products
  2. Machine building
  3. Chemicals
  4. Mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals)
  5. Agriculture
  6. Metallurgy
  7. Textiles
  8. Food processing

North Korea’s main trading partner is China, which accounts for most of its exports and imports. Some of the goods that North Korea exports are watch components, fake hair, iron alloys, instructional models, and tungsten.

Some of the goods that North Korea imports are clothing and apparel, soybean oil, rice, wheat products, and clocks/watches.

Which type of business is best in Korea?

There are many types of businesses that can be successful in Korea, depending on your skills, budget, and goals. According to one source¹, some of the best business ideas in South Korea are:

  1. Mobile photography
  2. Healthy drink business
  3. Digital marketing business
  4. Online advertising agency
  5. Voice over service
  6. Sewing products business
  7. Video games development business
  8. Financial consulting business

These are just some examples of businesses that can cater to the large and diverse consumer market in Korea, which is highly-educated, trend-sensitive, and willing to pay for quality products and services. Of course, you will also need to consider the legal, cultural, and competitive aspects of doing business in Korea, as well as the potential challenges and opportunities.

Easy businesses you can start in North Korea today

Here are some possible business ideas you can start in North Korea today:

1. Start a fruit delivery business.

North Korea has a large agricultural sector and a growing demand for fresh fruits. You can partner with local farmers and deliver fruits to customers using bicycles or motorcycles.

2. Start a construction company.

North Korea is undergoing rapid urbanization and infrastructure development. You can offer your services to build houses, roads, bridges, or factories.

3. Start a computer accessory business.

North Korea has a growing number of computer users and a shortage of computer accessories such as keyboards, mice, monitors, or printers. You can import these products from China or Russia and sell them to local customers.

4. Start a healthy drink business.

North Korea has a high consumption of alcohol and tobacco, which can lead to health problems. You can offer healthy alternatives such as fruit juices, herbal teas, or mineral water.

5. Start a financial consulting business

North Korea has a complex and evolving economic system that requires expert advice and guidance. You can offer your expertise on topics such as currency exchange, taxation, accounting, or investment.

These are just some examples of business ideas you can start in North Korea today.

However, you should be aware of the challenges and risks involved in doing business in North Korea, such as:

  • You need to form a joint venture with the North Korean government or a local partner, which means you have to share your profits and control over your business.
  • You need to comply with the laws and regulations of North Korea, which can be strict, unpredictable, and subject to change without notice.
  • You need to deal with the political and diplomatic uncertainties of North Korea, which can affect your business operations and security.

Therefore, before you start any business in North Korea, you should do your own research, consult with experts, and weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Home-based businesses to start in North Korea

Here are some examples of home-based businesses that you could consider starting in North Korea:

1. Online education:

You could offer online courses or tutoring services to North Koreans who want to learn new skills or languages, using platforms such as Choson Exchange¹, which provides online programs on economic policy, business, and entrepreneurship to North Koreans. You could also use VPNs or other tools to access foreign websites and resources that are blocked or censored in North Korea.

2. E-commerce:

You could sell goods or services online to domestic or foreign customers, using platforms such as Manmulsang¹, which is a North Korean e-commerce website that allows users to buy and sell products using digital payment methods. You could also use cross-border traders or smugglers to import or export goods that are in high demand or hard to find in North Korea.

3. Manufacturing:

You could produce goods at home using simple tools or machines, such as sewing machines, knitting machines, or 3D printers. You could make clothing, accessories, toys, crafts, or other items that are popular or unique in North Korea. You could also use recycled or locally sourced materials to reduce costs and environmental impact.

4. Food processing:

You could prepare food products at home using raw ingredients or ready-made mixes, such as noodles, bread, cakes, snacks, sauces, or beverages. You could sell your products online, at local markets, or through delivery services. You could also cater to specific dietary needs or preferences of your customers, such as vegetarian, vegan, halal, or organic.

5. Media production:

You could create media content at home using digital devices or software, such as cameras, microphones, computers, or editing programs. You could make videos, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, comics, or other forms of media that provide information, entertainment, education, or inspiration to your audience. You could also use VPNs or other tools to access foreign platforms or audiences that are blocked or censored in North Korea.

These are just some examples of home-based businesses that you could start in North Korea.


Starting a business in North Korea is not impossible, but it is not easy either. It requires a lot of creativity, courage, and perseverance. It also requires a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges that await in this unique and isolated country.

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