After months of street protests, Hong Kong is becoming unprecedently “color-coded”. Shops and restaurants are being labeled as either ‘yellow’ to show support to the pro-democracy movement or ‘blue’ in support of the police and government establishments.
Hong residents have termed the pro-democracy campaign by the restaurants and other businesses as part of the “yellow economic circle” – an informal association of thousands of businesses and retailers supporting the protest movement against the anti-extradition bill. It is being visualized as a peaceful means for people to extend support to the protest movement amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Something that started with small eateries offering food and drinks to pro-democracy protestors last year, it has expanded into a mammoth circle of variety of businesses from hair salons to lawyers joining in to continue the movement. Many of these businesses display pro-movement posters and slogans to identify themselves. The Yellow Economic Circle reportedly has its own chamber of commerce.
Significantly, supporters are flocking to “yellow” businesses in large numbers amid the economic fallout due to the pandemic, while “blue” shops backing the pro-government establishment are facing an existential crisis. In the wake of the current circumstances, experts have asserted that the Yellow Economic Circle has the potential to revolutionize the future of business in Hong Kong, considering that the money and momentum are openly supporting the movement.
Even as the yellow movement intensifies, there are certain challenges it has to overcome to sustain this momentum. Beijing officials overseeing Hong Kong have been critical of the movement. In an attempt to disrupt their business operations, the Hong Kong government has enforced social distancing measures on selective yellow shops, as per reports. A commentary in the People’s Daily, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, accused the movement of ruining the economy of Hong Kong. Notably, pro-establishment businesses dominate the resources in the city.
This calls for the yellow shops to work towards generating mass-reach using information technology and global connections. Mobile apps, maps, and shop banners are guiding consumers and supporters to yellow businesses across the city. Therefore, it is crucial for the movement to exploit the potential of means of information technology to step up the campaign.
In the meantime, Hong Kong is working on easing its lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic. As Hong Kong lifts restrictions, yellow business owners are pushing for restructuring the economy in an attempt to tackle Chinese intrusion in the market.