Hong Kong’s distinctive neon signs are being snuffed out

Hong Kong’s distinctive neon signs are being snuffed out

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The future of Hong Kong’s famed neon skyline could be under threat. Changing tastes, new technology and tighter regulations mean the giant signs are losing their sparkle. Few symbols represent Hong Kong quite as much as it’s flashing and blinking neon billboards. Tens of thousands of signs adorn buildings advertising everything from restaurants and nightclubs to saunas and jewellery shops. Many are cantilevered far out over the street, competing for visitors’ attention. But over the past two decades, Hong Kong’s neon industry has been slowly dying out. Wu Chi-kai is one of about half a dozen neon sign masters left in Hong Kong. The 50-year-old says he now earns about a third of what he made during the “golden era for the neon sign industry” in the 1980s and early 90s.