Pop quiz: does the average North Korean even know what a smartphone is? Probably not. Does the average North Korean have a mobile phone (any type, even a featurephone)? Nope. So far, the country’s leadership hasn’t allowed something like this to happen. There is a mobile network in North Korea, but it has very few users – who are only from the top tiers of the administration.
So, does Kim Jong-un, the current North Korean dictator, know what a smartphone is? Yep, definitely. He actually owns one, as seen in the image below which was taken at a recent meeting he was presiding over.
What is Kim Jong-un’s favorite smartphone in the world at this moment? The HTC Butterfly. You can’t say the man doesn’t have a taste for top tier specs. Did the 5-inch 1080p screen in that phone impress the young dictator? Or was it the quad-core processor? We’ll probably never know – maybe he’s simply in love with HTC Sense.
What is pretty clear is that Kim Jong-un definitely wouldn’t want to be caught dead sporting a device made by a South Korean company. Or an American one, for that matter. So Samsung, LG, Pantech, and Apple were probably never even considered anyway. From the remaining batch, the Taiwanese choice starts to make sense. Until, of course, you factor in the sometimes tense relations between China and Taiwan. And the fact that China is and always was pretty much North Korea’s only friend. Ah, well. You can’t please everyone, the saying goes. Maybe that’s a North Korean saying after all?
HTC doesn’t have a North Korean branch, in fact it even closed its South Korean operations during a restructuring last year (and undoubtedly because of appalling sales compared to the homegrown rivals). But apparently the Taiwanese smartphone maker may have told South Korean media, regarding Kim Jong-un’s preference, that it’s thankful to all those who love to use its products. Or something to that regard – Google Translate usually isn’t helpful with nuances. And this bit of news originated in South Korean Central Daily, then got picked up by Taiwan’s China Times, and finally arrived at our virtual doorstep via Sina. So along this journey things may have been misappropriated, that’s for sure.