Hong Kong shoppers patronize "yellow" stores that support the uprising; while "blue" businesses that support the mainland are vandalized

In Hong Kong, the protracted pro-democracy uprising has triggered a local economic recession, especially as businesses and Hong Kongers seek to boycott mainland Chinese businesses and products.

However, some businesses are fighting the recession by explicitly identifying themselves as partisans for the pro-democracy movement; these "yellow businesses" attract customers who want to spend money with merchants whose political leaning match their own. Online services help Hong Kong people find "yellow businesses" so they can preferentially patronize them.

By contrast "blue businesses" are not self-declared -- rather, the label is given to firms that are considered to be in thrall to the mainland Chinese government and opposed to the pro-democracy movement (for example, Maxim's, a catering firm that operates Hong Kong's Starbucks outlets, is considered "blue" because the owner's daughter made public statements calling protesters "rioters" and decrying Hong Kong's youth). Blue businesses are sometimes vandalized or postered.

Weirdly, Pepe the Frog -- a cartoon character hijacked by western white nationalists -- has become a mascot for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

At Fu Kee Noodles in Wan Chai, diners slurp wonton under the watchful gaze of a gas mask-wearing Pepe the Frog, which has become a mascot of the pro-democracy movement.

"This is a yellow shop, the boss supports the protesters, so we decided to come," said a 47-year-old advertising employee calling himself Gilbert.

"The most important thing in Hong Kong now is that we need to help each other, especially when the government does not help us."

Posters and post-it notes with pro-democracy messages cover the wall by the cashier.

Owner Kwong Chun-hin, 30, told AFP he hopes the yellow-blue tagging will become a trend "because this is good for us. I mean not just my shop, I mean all shops".

Hong Kong protest shoppers show their true colours [Xinqi Su and Ayaka Mcgill/AFP]

(Image: Hkongs Mall)