What is the Yellow Economy? The 4 definitions

The yellow economy has just been testing and formulating in Hong Kong, so it is understandable that so far it does not have a consensus on its definition. There is also a lot of criticism on the yellow economy due to their misunderstandings or interpreting based on their self-perceived definitions of the yellow economy. Some criticisms directly point out this fact that they do not know what it is, or criticizing that the yellow economy is inevitably sourcing supplies from the red or blue economies.

I think this is a healthy development of new economic behavior. It requires scholars to do more research, holds more discussions, invites international experts to help analyze, before it can have a consensus on its true meanings. This is more in line with the bottom-up decision-making process and the final definition will be more recognized, its implementation will also be able to be in the long-term.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: [1]

Let me hereby first try to summarize the four definitions of the yellow economy that are common in the current context of the Hong Kong protests, for the convenience of future discussions. First of all, they are not mutually exclusive and can coexist with more than one definition or defined independently. They are defined by:
1. [Supporting the protest] The supporting level of the shop’s staff on the be-water movement, such as welcoming protesters, recruiting arrested people, donating to the organizations, providing “Lennon wall”, etc .;
2. [Boycotting the red/blue economies] The extent of resisting the red and blue economies, such as reducing the purchase of materials for them, refusing to broadcast the television and information of them, and rejecting the payment systems of them;
3. [Supporting local economy] The degree of localization of the store, such as purchasing Hong Kong ingredients, products and services, hiring Hong Kong people, using services provided by Hong Kong companies, and even accepting local community currencies, supporting to organize the Hong Kong community, establishing and maintaining Hong Kong’s ideology, promoting Hong Kong brand and export it internationally (Refer to [1],[2]). (This is similar to the participation of Hong Kong in the C40 organization that I put forward during the election. It allows Hong Kong to participate in international affairs in the capacity of a global city, which can help make Hong Kong culture more internationally recognized. At the same time, localization can also significantly reduce carbon emissions and work with C40 to help solve the global warming crisis);
4. [Supporting conscience economy] The degree of support of shops for democracy, fairness, and justice, such as resisting large consortia, resisting monopoly supplies, using more fair-trade materials, providing a working-friendly environment for employees (refer to [1]); the degree of support of shops in assisting democratic elections, support and participation in the yellow economy, register as voters, join the yellow unions and vote for the yellow candidates.

Some of the above four definitions are easier to implement and some are of far-reaching significance. Some are more divided by political opinions and some are distinguished by economic behavior. The purpose is different and the effect is naturally different. If you have other suggestions for the definition of the yellow economy, welcome to put forward for public reference and discussion.

In fact, the yellow economy does not necessarily need to be clearly defined. It may be beneficial to let it vague and undefined. It may allow different people to maximize their own consumption benefits. However, if you want to do some research or analyses, or even some certifications of the yellow economic activities, then it requires to set a clear and measurable definition and have a transparent measurement method.

Finally, it must be pointed out that color economies are nothing new. The green economy, for example, is quite successful and the Government has strongly supported the Green Bond Markets. There are also various movements on consumption behavior based on political agenda or solidarity advocacy. They are nowadays coined as Political Consumerism / Solidarity Economy (a page in wikipedia is available).


[1] (In Chinese) Mingpao Daily 明報 (2019) 通識導賞:黃色經濟圈真係 work? 黃色又係咩?12月8日。https://news.mingpao.com/pns/%E5%89%AF%E5%88%8A/article/20191208/s00005/1575741380324/%E9%80%9A%E8%AD%98%E5%B0%8E%E8%B3%9E-%E9%BB%83%E8%89%B2%E7%B6%93%E6%BF%9F%E5%9C%88%E7%9C%9F%E4%BF%82work-%E3%80%8C%E9%BB%83%E8%89%B2%E3%80%8D%E5%8F%88%E4%BF%82%E5%92%A9

[2] (In Chinese) Chow, S.M. 鄒祟銘 (2019) 從網絡動員到生活自主 — — 「黃色經濟圈」的未來想像,端傳媒,12月3日。https://theinitium.com/article/20191203-opinion-hk-independent-economy/?fbclid=IwAR00sKYYWj6hQulcLKZ9bXO8VOzoSVMA2dIY6ehW6PUVdjJrj3TENg6mB10

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store