What Hong Kong’s protests mean for business | CNBC Reports

What Hong Kong’s protests mean for business | CNBC Reports

I’m walking through Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, it’s one of the city’s major shopping
hubs and while things are calm right now, it wasn’t too long ago that this
was at the heart of the city’s pro-democracy protests – ones that have
been paralyzing the city for months. Demonstrations have been
scattered throughout the city, from parks to bridges, inside malls and even a sit-in that resulted
in the closure of the airport. The turmoil has shaken up Hong Kong’s
economy which in 2019 entered its first first technical recession
since the financial crisis. Hong Kong is one of the richest
cities in the world, but months of unrest and uncertainty is
impacting business both big and small. And I want to see firsthand how. Protesters have sprayed this wall with
graffiti which has since been covered up by paint but not quite removed. I’ve just discovered more graffiti by
protesters – this here says: “We do this because we love our home.” It’s been really quite significant and
it’s especially hit retail, entertainment, hotels, those kind of businesses now
we actually see a real reduction in mainland tourists and that’s
been a biggest hit of all. Hong Kong’s economy shrunk in the
second and third quarter of 2019 marking a technical recession. It was the first time in a decade that its
economy weakened for two consecutive quarters. The government forecasts the economy
will contract by 1.3 percent in 2019 overall and the city is set to record
its first budget deficit in 15 years. The special administrative region is seeing
less money from outside its borders, and many Hong Kong residents are
changing their spending habits as well This is one of those businesses that has
come out publicly to say it stands with the Hong Kong protests. Platforms have popped up showing
maps of businesses believed to be to be supporting the protests, as
well as ones that are not. And people are backing their side with their dollars. Just look at this Instagram account
which has amassed more than 180,000 followers since launching in September. Its aim: to show and promote businesses
that are in support of the protests. I decide to visit some of the businesses on the map. One of them is this restaurant chain
that advertises its stance proudly on its windows. This is a grassroots movement that’s
distinguished by the color yellow, which essentially says they support the Hong
Kong movement, the Hong Kong protests. Blue on the other hand is used for
businesses perceived to be backing the government and police. People can
use this sticker to scan a QR code which will take them to Google Maps. The map
then reveals assumed yellow and blue businesses around the city. Inside the
restaurant I notice even the bottom of the receipts are a nod in support of the
protesters. So, are the customers aware of the politics? One tells me he thinks
everyone inside is conscious of the business’ stand on the protests and for
him it’s one of the reasons he’s eating there. It’s my freedom, right? It’s my
freedom on how to spend my money. But it’s a divisive time right now.
Many of the businesses I visit or call are hesitant to speak on camera. I finally find a bookstore that’s
willing to be interviewed. Is it ok to ask you a question or two? As part of the story, I’m with CNBC. The store features art and
literature related to the protests. Are you worried at all as a business,
taking a stance for one side, that it could hurt business? Not really because I heard some
pros and cons about this so-called the yellow economic circle, but then I
see it in a more positive way as people are getting more solidarity
through economic ways. but make no mistake, despite being on
the so-called yellow side, he says he doesn’t particularly like that there
are sides to begin with. We want to be unified in the end.
We are not aiming to segregate people. While this store is one of the few that
I find that’s willing to get involved in the politics, most want to stay out
of it and it’s hard to blame them. Some global companies like Starbucks
have been targeted and vandalized for their perceived support of the government
and many have already taken hits to their sales as a result of the protests, including
this bar in Hong Kong’s Central District. The implications of protests during the
week have slowed business down. Roadblocks, more police presence, so
people tend to go home after work these days instead of going out for drinks
and dinners. Yeah it’s been frustrating. Massive disruptions to public
transportation has sparked safety concerns that have resulted in the
cancellation of countless events and conferences here. Hong Kong’s tourism and retail sectors
have felt the most pain as the city’s standing as a stable financial hub comes into question. August is typically a peak season for
tourism in Hong Kong, but in 2019, visitor numbers during the summer
month plunged by 40 percent. Just look at this chart. Mainland
Chinese visitors account for nearly 80 percent of tourists in Hong Kong. That
dramatically decreased throughout the year. The Chinese are not very happy about
tour groups coming into Hong Kong. They don’t really want to see Chinese
tourists in this kind of opposition and revolt that you’re seeing in Hong Kong: attacks with
the police, the free news, this kind of thing. The less of this kind of information
that gets out to people in China, the better the Chinese like it. It’s not just retail that’s been suffering,
many hotels are dealing with record low occupancy rates. With some of the political unrest in
Hong Kong, tourist arrivals are down here. How has that been? I can’t lie to you – it’s certainly impacted
business, but you know being part of such a huge hotel company and
the funnel it allows to bring, we do a lot better than most hotels. That reduction in tourism is in part
responsible for thousands of restaurants closing and also hurting global
retailers like Prada and Louis Vuitton, which are expected to close
at least one location each. Luxury brands are taking note of these closures. Hong Kong is one of the top luxury
shopping destinations in the world, accounting for 5-10% of luxury spending
globally and overall, retail sales have steadily declined throughout the year. While the protests were originally
motivated by politics, many say they’ve now become a platform for bigger issues. It’s so very expensive, one of the
most expensive places in the world. It’s hard for Hong Kong graduates
to get good positions in China. It’s difficult for people to have their own
home. People live at home till they’re 40. Average salaries aren’t much
higher than they were 20 years ago. Real salaries are probably about the
same as we were 20 years ago for graduating student. So it’s a difficult
place to live in for many, many people not just the poor people, but also for
the aspirant students, students from middle class and this is being I think
one of the keys to the discontent. Hong Kong’s government has unveiled
multiple rounds of measures designed to support businesses dealing with
the fallout from a prolonged trade war and social unrest. Those relief measures
are worth more than $3 billion, with most of it expected to go to the tourism and retail sectors. Despite Hong Kong’s economic woes,
the city’s stock exchange minimized impact last year. It kept its
position as a top market for new stock listings globally, thanks largely to two
gangbuster initial public offerings: a secondary listing from Alibaba and
Budweiser’s Asia-Pacific business. As protests continue into the new year
many are wondering what happens next. Will things settle down or is this just the beginning of Hong Kong’s economic disruption? Hey guys it’s Uptin, thanks for watching. Check out more of our videos and
let us know in the comments how how you think the protests here will
impact Hong Kong’s economy. While you’re at it, subscribe to our
channel and I’ll see you next time!

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Have you ever thought for a second that Chinese people don't want to go to a place they will be beaten? It is like Chinese are restricted to go to HK. What a new….

  2. @3:53, the shop is completely empty and yet it still stands.
    Where does this guy find the money to pay the rent? Not like rent in HK is low or anything. Money laundering?

  3. @5:20, is this old timer really trying to convince us that we still write letters?
    God, the nonsense he propagates on South China Morning Post is already insulting to common sense, but this here is straight-out moronic.

  4. What a superficial low quality report. Given his tone, I thought he might start to tell me where I can get my cheap bowl of wonton noodle soup….

  5. It is such a pity that nobody in the mainland cares about what happened in HK, and western world can do nothing to help HK. Just let HKers to destroy their own city and ruin everything, let them fight for democracy.

  6. Meh. Big Surprise~~ "ehhhhh yeee…we helped you destroy the city….sorry we couldn't come here like three months ago~~ but that's okay~~ how are you guys now~~ oh…you are not doing so well?~~~"

  7. HK are sinking down to hell in exponential rate.
    Meanwhile, Macau are rising to their glorious.
    The two cities are under the same governance system but differentiate by their attitude toward Beijing.

  8. As a mainlander, I have never felt that Hong Kong people are our own family. Every time I go to Hong Kong, I can feel the inexplicable superiority of Hong Kong people. I don't know why. I support their anti-government actions, because then the mainland cities will have more opportunities for development. Like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen now, they have surpassed Hong Kong economically. NEXT is Guangzhou,stay strong CHINA.🇨🇳🇨🇳🇨🇳

  9. Pro democracy? They lynch and kill those who disagree with them. Even reporters are lynched on camera so wtf are you talking about when you try to paint this as some sort of fight for survival for the little man when it's mob rule. The world can see thru your propaganda 🤬

  10. Do you know what does spoiled kid means? Just watch hongkong. With free Water, free electricity from shenzhen, all kinds of social welfare, like directly enroll into china best university..

  11. I like the stories which covered by uptin, he's doing real news,nothing more, nothing less
    It's definitely the beginning of HK economy disruption though,HK is over and China is over as well, sorry HK and China, I have to be honest

  12. its calm now becoz guess what…a lot of funds have been frozen.
    ned got banned.

    no money, and u lose 80% of the rioters. thats the truth. all got paid to riot.

    and yes, the economy has changed. Its called RECESSION. HK economy has collapsed. big lay offs, shops disappearing, money is gone. get ready for a period of rough economy. anyone not ready, is gonna be extremely difficult now with no jobs, no income…

    the cohroaches have ruined Hong Kong.

  13. lol the interviews fail to point out that mainlanders do get attacked by xenophobic extremist HK people while on vacation to HK.

  14. HK economy needs to go down more and more! Because the so called “freedom” is so important, so they should cut the economic tie with China, China is not a “freedom” country, HK should not do business with China! For once, I do not wanna HK be part of China, they really put shame on Chinese people!

  15. Just want to make sure the truth is told. People in HK is NOT against Starbucks. Starbucks in HK is managed by Maxim, Maxim is a very large company in the restaurant business in HK. Maxim holds the right to run and sell Starbucks. What happen was the daughter of Maxim publicly denounced the pro-democracy and support police brutality. That is the reason people boycott Maxim and a FEW Starbucks. If Starbucks in Seattle has a hart and support any human right movement, Starbucks should terminate the business with Maxim. Sadly, like the NBA, people caved in to the communist Chinese for a few bucks. CNBC, if you are going to do a story, get your facts and tell the truth story, that is what journalism is all about.

  16. Who cares? Tired of all the protests. At the end of the day, it is the people who live there that suffers including the protesters.

  17. A lot of hongkongers are stupid and narrow minded and are easily brainwashed. Those rioters are useful tools fighting for the benefits of the elites in the name of fake democracy. Ironically, Trump has now signed a trade deal with China. Rioters are disposal and soon will be forgotten.

  18. History keeps repeating itself: After certain number of years dictators will become insane silly idiots who could only turn to barbarism, mass slaughtering and censorship to make People shut up so that dictators dont hear any critics nor opposition and could pretend peaceful until the day dictators got kicked OUT! Primary school emperor Xi is now coming to the end of his dictatorship. Trump is clever to use the humiliated unequal trade deal to force Xi and china criminal party suicide! @
    The Opium War started due to the Ching Imperial Country which was a foreign invaders occupation and nothing to do with "china/chinese" that only emerged 100 years ago, violated the trade treaty signed with UK. Ching was like china criminal party of today, sold a lot of junk to UK but refused to buy anything in return hence created a huge trade gap until the Brits finally sold something that the Ching imperial family like: opium. During the 2 opium wars, only a total of 20,000 people were killed as compared to 70 million slaughtered around similar time under the "Heaven Stablization Revolution" and 100+ million slaughtered by Mao and ccp since 1949.

  19. Enjoy the recession guys. You've deserved it. Keep smashing things because things will get better if you do. The Chinese chairman may even come by personally with your favourite toy and some tissues to dry your eyes.

    This video is misleading, with all the disrepair in hk, imagine all the economic activity which will be generated to fix it all up? That's a benefit! So come on and keep smashing things in the name of democracy and HK! It's what the place needs!

  20. Hong Kong will face more of them in future, with 2040 being the deadline for two systems, long term investors won't be choosing HK as investment destination

  21. The HK government and police are the sinners of this unrest. Without their ambition to kiss China’s ass, aka implementing the extradition bill, nothing would have been happened.

  22. I noticed that Taiwanese separatists had published a lot of fake news that fueled the riots.
    Now that the Taiwan election is over, we're good until July.

  23. It's hard to live in HK
    I believe that's the real reason why there's such a mass riot. I went to HK for 3 times for my SAT exam in 2018, I's a little shocked with how crowded the city is, the food were expensive , housing were well constructed but as I learned that they were really costly and was considered as one potential reason that such riot could be so severe
    I'm worried about mainland and HK, I don't want living in mainland will be extremely costly and I don't want HK to become a home for terrorists as only 300 over 5000 voters said that they should not bunrn or kill and people have different ideas and the remain support such kind of horrifing behavior

  24. I would not call HK a rich city as housing from the locals perspective there is 4 times as unaffordable as in Singapore

  25. "We do this because we love our home". Funny, I love my home too, but wont see me destroying things or settings things on fire. 😐

    Now to anyone who say, I should collect my 50cents now, I say where? Havent really know how to redeem… 😅

  26. Please how has China changed the hub of business in Hong Kong before the protest? I understand they have been moving to take away the centrality of Hong Kong for capitalism in Asia, for years.

  27. China people do you really trust a leader who has made himself a lifetime appointment? The world believes you are smart enough to have free internet and make your own decisions.Why doesn't your government? Not all parents are benevolent. Grow up be free!

  28. 100% in support of the Yellow Economic Circle! We HKers need to send a message with our wallets that we will not accept totalitarian regimes, and rioters from China coming to assault HKers for standing up for our rights. Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!

  29. All Asian are happy to see Hong Kong goes down including mainland Chinese and Taiwanese … keep protesting and we’d enjoy while you suffer and business grown while yours reduced in a free competitive world. Who would go to Hong Kong if you can find prettier scene and more friendly reception elsewhere especially the Chinese tourists have choices. I love to see Hong Kong burnt as a support to the protestors … waiting to see people burnt themselves like the Vietnamese monk in war protest since no democracy can be obtained so kill yourselves as HEROS.

  30. Hong Kong is all by herself … do not want to be Chinese yet rely on water and food supply even business favors to keep living … shameful and ungrateful brads but we love to support people fighting – US, UK and Europeans love your courage … keep fighting till death … be strong and be fearless. I truly admire people not compromise – please burn Hong Kong as I enjoyed weekly drama and kind of becoming a habit now.

  31. There is a way out … Hong Kong people supporting Chinese government could move to Shenzhen and Guangzhou – business return and living quality are everything you can expect from a modern city plus continuous investment unlike Hong Kong. Chinese law is the same common sense for ordinary people as long as you do things legally which is same everywhere – considered yourself an immigrant in mainland then you would be fine. I am sure no one treat you badly if you speak the local language well plus respect of local culture. have friends working and living comfortably in mainland so why not. Make Hong Kong a military seaport like San Diego and let the Chinese haters live in the lonely island. If needed, start VISA for Hong Kong citizens visiting mainland which is equality to visiting permit for Chinese coming to Hong Kong. Apply background check on passport application and travel control for anti China citizens – I think there is no right for violent protestors because they are criminals.

  32. Not only Hong Kong facing expensive living in the world. It happens everywhere. Hong Kong is going for the worse to come.

  33. Hk protests are beautiful and is one of the little things that gives me hope when dictatorships with no respect to the people are taking over the world,of course with the help of the Chinese and Russian government

  34. Hong Kong is interesting moving to Australia other than US. Why Australia? it has freedom similar to Hong Kong. What about US? Well, there's bear arms….

  35. 0:33 CNBC International, you are sadly mistaken. Hong Kong is NOT one of the richest cities in the world. Look at Richard Harris' point at 6:23 and can you tell me where the contradiction is? Hint: Hong Kong's economy runs on expensive housing and rental prices which means lesser money to spend for the people living in Hong Kong. Please be careful in how you present information next time

  36. Reason for mainland not go to hongkong is not government rather than people themselves don’t want to go. Why mainland people went to a place where they have high risk get themselves beat up by those rioters?

  37. The whole blue and yellow shops labelling thing is ridiculous. It serves no purpose but to divide Hong Kong further and punish people for their political views….discrimination and hate is what it is. Shame on those damn rioters, we will never forget all the violence and destruction you have and will continue to cause!

  38. yea,.i got every freedom, i can punch, spit, swear, kick, smack, shout, disobey on you..etc etc. No one is above the law, your american daddy didn't let you know this.

  39. Support blue? Your shops get " renovation", what the rioters-supporters will do, i.e. destroy the shops. And, majority of HK people are so brainwashed to support even crimes by any country's law. Supporters of Police and Government of course won't take criminal actions. So, you will definitely see more yellow shops. What do you do when there is no more rule-of-law in HK?

  40. I burnt half my house because I love my home.

    I support Hong Kong protest. Let it burn so the rats can abandon ship.

  41. i don't think that those 5 demands is that hard to do. the government should negotiate with those the protesters representatives. universal suffrage maybe difficult to do but the other 4 is doable.

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