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Hong Kong’s Covid restrictions throw feng shui masters off balance

Hong Kong’s feng shui masters are reeling from a double blow dealt by the town’s powerful zero-Covid regime and its rising work-from-home tradition.

Specialists within the historical Chinese language observe stated the territory’s stringent quarantine restrictions on incoming passengers had value them profitable alternatives abroad.

Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, feng shui masters stated they used to journey a couple of dozen instances a 12 months outdoors the territory, particularly to mainland Chinese language cities resembling Shanghai and Shenzhen to supply consultations to rich businesspeople at their houses and places of work.

Feng shui, which suggests “wind” and “water” in Chinese language, is a standard observe that goals to rearrange buildings, objects and house in an atmosphere to realize concord and stability.

Business feng shui can contain finding out workplace views, flooring plans, the situation of departments and even workers seating to find out whether or not the association can appeal to prosperity and good well being. Many native and worldwide firms in larger China have sought feng shui consultations to create auspicious workplaces.

However it’s not simply abroad work that has dropped off. Some practitioners complain that the swap to working from residence in Hong Kong has led to a precipitous fall in demand for his or her companies from financiers and executives in a number of the metropolis’s prime workplace buildings.

“With many individuals working remotely, the demand has naturally been decrease,” stated Kelvin Poon, a former banker at Citi and DBS who started pursuing a profession in feng shui in 2015.

Hong Kong authorities routinely limit the variety of diners allowed in eating places when coronavirus circumstances climb © VCG/Getty Pictures

A lot of Poon’s purchasers work within the metropolis’s Central monetary district, together with funding corporations, banks and hedge funds. Consultations value about HK$15-HK$25 (US$1.90-US$3.10) per sq foot, which suggests practitioners can cost tens of hundreds of Hong Kong {dollars} for every workplace go to.

However when a fifth wave of infections struck Hong Kong through the lunar new 12 months vacation in February, which is often the height season for industrial feng shui consultations, demand fell by greater than 20 per cent, stated Poon.

“Many huge companies didn’t enable many workers to return into the workplace through the outbreak. If you’re not going again to the workplace for more often than not, then you’re principally bodily indifferent from the power and chi move there,” stated Poon, referring to the move of power.

Jacky Wong, one other feng shui grasp with greater than twenty years of expertise, stated consultations for small and medium companies, significantly these within the retail trade and eating places, had fallen by as much as 50 per cent this 12 months.

“The outlook for us is unclear. Who is aware of when the powerful social distancing measures could come again? Many companies are already not getting cash,” stated Wong.

Authorities have responded to previous surges of Covid circumstances by banning in-house eating or limiting the variety of folks allowed to dine collectively.

Omicron circumstances are rising once more within the metropolis because the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants unfold in China. On Thursday, the territory reported greater than 3,600 infections.

Native and international companies in Hong Kong have repeatedly urged the federal government to drop quarantine necessities and ease restrictions to revive the economic system, which suffered a 4 per cent contraction in gross home product within the first quarter of the 12 months.

Dixon Dai, a former inventive director at an enormous international promoting company earlier than switching industries in 2009, stated “considerably extra” of his industrial feng shui purchasers had requested for reductions this 12 months.

The financial squeeze has prompted feng shui masters so as to add their voices to the pleas to calm down Covid measures. “If the feng shui sector is to return to its booming days,” stated ex-banker Poon, “border [reopening] will probably be crucial”.

Video: Hong Kong’s future as Asia’s monetary centre | FT Movie

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