The Hong Kong economy, already buffeted by high unemployment, flagging retail sales and chronic deflation, is suffering another blow: an influx of money too ugly to spend. The territory's monetary authority last month released into circulation a revamped $10 bill that, instead of inspiring confidence in the territory's financial underpinnings, reminds people of a discount coupon for laundry detergent. "It looks juvenile," says local merchant Jeremy Chia of the garish pink and purple banknote. Part of the problem is the inclusion of numerous anti-counterfeiting features, including embossed text and a watermarked bauhinia flower. "The abundance of security features may not be appropriate," admitted monetary authority chief executive Joseph Lam—especially since the note, worth about $1.28 U.S., is too small for counterfeiters to bother with. We suspect the bill's cryptic graphical motifs have a hidden meaning: the government is sending out subliminal messages to stimulate consumer spending (see below).
play the ponies/buy a Ferrari
call your bookie
HSBC headquarters building
Don't worry, there's plenty more money where this came from
Hong Kong is out of bright ideas. Purchase a flat in Shanghai