'Yellow economy' could be here to stay: economist - RTHK
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'Yellow economy' could be here to stay: economist

2019-12-30 HKT 11:22
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  • Vera Yuen says people choosing shops and restaurants based on their stance on the protest movement showcases Hong Kong’s free economy. Photo: RTHK
    Vera Yuen says people choosing shops and restaurants based on their stance on the protest movement showcases Hong Kong’s free economy. Photo: RTHK
A University of Hong Kong economist says the so-called "yellow economy" that has emerged in recent months – with some people boycotting businesses seen as pro-Beijing or pro-government and spending their money only at shops that support the protest movement – may not disappear even if the ongoing unrest is resolved.

Vera Yuen, who is an assistant lecturer at HKU's faculty of economics, was commenting on recent remarks made by Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau, who said he cannot see how the yellow economy can last.

Speaking on an RTHK programme on Monday, Yuen said a shop openly supporting the protest movement as a trade practice is just like a business advocating environmental protection. She said it showcases Hong Kong’s free economy.

“Whether it’s sustainable, it depends on people’s preferences, which mean their political views. And people’s political views… whether they’re intense enough to stay would depend on the government’s action and how they react to people’s needs and their voices,” she said.

But the chairman of Centaline, Shih Wing-ching said businesses have faced interference if they haven't participated in the protesters’ boycotting action.

Shih said companies under his group had received warnings asking them to stop running advertisements on a certain TV channel, or else they would face “serious consequences”.

During the programme, a caller said he wouldn’t mind going further away from his home just to spend at shops supporting the protest movement.

But an elderly caller complained that he was at a restaurant with his grandson when some protesters came in and caused a nuisance.