North Korea to exhibit domestic software in Beijing

North Korea’s nascent software industry is about to find itself in the international spotlight for the first time when an exhibition of domestically developed software takes place in Beijing in April.

The “Computer Software Expo of DPRKorea” will be held for three days from April 20 at the China World Hotel in the Chinese capital and is being organized by the Pan-Pacific Economic Development Association of Korean Nationals. The Beijing-based group is a semi-governmental organization focused on economic exchange and attracting international investment to North Korea.

The exhibition will showcase winners of a national software contest that is due to begin this Saturday, Feb. 16, said a spokesman for the organizers. The national software contest has taken place annually for several years, according to previous reports on the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), and is used as a way to drive software development in the country.

Among applications expected to be on show in Beijing will be a domestically developed operating system, text processing and character recognition software, speech recognition software, database applications, translation software, computer-aided design applications and a fingerprint recognition system. The show will also include domestically developed Linux software and PlayStation games, said the organizers.

The software has been developed by universities and centers leading North Korea’s drive towards information technology, including Kim Il Sung University, Kim Chaek University, Pyongyang Computer University, Pyongyang Program Center and Korea Computer Center, said the organizers.

In addition to the software, the exhibition is expected to attract around 30 of North Korea’s top computer experts. They have been invited to attend the exhibition, offer presentations on their work and are also expected to tour the Comdex China show, which will take place in Beijing from April 17 to 20.

To date, domestically developed software has yet to score any big international success, with one exception. A computer version of Baduk, a type of Korean chess, developed by the Chosun Computer Center is on sale in South Korea through a venture with a unit of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The software has enjoyed some success and is regarded among South Koreans as one of the best Baduk applications available.

Determined to embrace information technology, North Korea has also begun linking key organizations with a domestic computer network and has also opened a computer assembly factory to produce Pentium and Celeron-class personal computers, according to a report in a Tokyo-based North Korean newspaper last year.

More information about the exhibition can be found at the association’s home page at

The Pan-Pacific Economic Development Association of Korean Nationals, in Beijing, can be contacted at