Last month the news broke that North Korea had begun producing its home-grown smartphone. Later it is rumored the Arirang phone is actually made in China and shipped to North Korea.

Gu Xinhui, general manager of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Uniscope, confirmed they were the hands behind the Arirang AS1201, as reported by local media. Gu said Uniscopes provides a full-around solution, powered by MTK, and the only thing North Korean workers need to do is assembly (via Sohu IT). Gu declined to disclose more details of the cooperation with the North Korean side, saying it’s a “sensitive” topic.

The Arirang phone looks indeed like Uniscope U1203 (see below).

Arirang AS1201


Uniscope U1203

Uniscope was one of the first smartphone OEMs in Shenzhen, China’s electronics manufacturing center. In 2011 the company began designing and making its own smartphones. Last year it participated in the Qihoo’s smartphone program that Qihoo chose several smartphones of different brands and sold them online to Qihoo users. It’s unknown how many pieces of Uniscope phones have been sold there.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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