Yellow or blue? In Hong Kong, businesses choose political sides

The tapioca pearls at Mr Fred Liu's bubble teahouse are springy and fresh, just like the fishballs at Ms Elaine Lau's noodle shop. But that is not the only reason customers flock to these eateries in Hong Kong's bustling Causeway Bay shopping district. Both are members of the so-called yellow economy, shops that openly support the democracy movement remaking Hong Kong as it strives to protect the freedoms differentiating the territory from the rest of China.

After seven months of street protests, Hong Kong is colour-coded - and bitterly divided. The yellow economy refers to the hue of umbrellas once used to defend demonstrators against pepper spray and streams of tear gas. That is in contrast to blue businesses, which support the police.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2020, with the headline 'Yellow or blue? In Hong Kong, businesses choose political sides'. Subscribe