Introducing North Korea’s First Mobile Payment App: Woolim

For Korea watchers at least, it has been well known that smartphones have caught on in North Korea with the country increasingly developing its own domestic designs; the “Jindallae 6” being released just a few weeks ago. Now it is being reported that DPRK also has its own local mobile phone payment app, akin to China’s Alipay or WeChat Pay, known as “Woolim”, which allows users to transfer money from person to person.

The report, produced by South Korea’s KB Financial Group Research Institute claims that locals have been using the app since 2018. Not only does Woolim allow money transfer, but the application reportedly also allows its users to purchase e-commerce products and handle cross-currency transactions, including in Chinese Yuan.

The given paper also claimed that the program also allows locals a handy way to skirt United Nations and US sanctions by bypassing banks and financial institutions, making it more difficult for enforcers to monitor. However, details of the application’s usage amongst remains scant and of course, questionable outside of Pyongyang. No details are available on its appearance or content.