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Feng shui, pilosophy or sham?

By Lin Meilian (Global Times)

08:40, October 19, 2012

(File Photo)

Feng shui is coming back in China, but this time, it is not in the name of science, but on the stock exchange.

This year, a Singaporean company decided to help turn feng shui into a mainstream business and separate itself from the chaotic and dramatic feng shui industry in China by listing on the stock exchange.

The company, New Trend Lifestyle Group (NTL), raised $2.35 million and listed its shares on London's Alternative Investment Market in June. Founded in Singapore in 2005, the company now has about 180 employees working in 15 stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and China's mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The founder, 46-year-old Phang Songhua, also known as Master Phang, said the company plans to open 50 stores across the mainland in three years.

Feng shui, meaning wind-water, is an ancient Chinese art governing the creation and use of living spaces, allowing them to be in harmony with universal energy. However, it has been commonly denigrated as a superstition by authorities. The debate as to whether feng shui is timeless philosophy or silly superstition has been raging for years.

"The idea of getting listed on a stock exchange is to turn feng shui into mainstream," Master Phang told the Global Times.

The practice of feng shui is not officially banned on the mainland, but nor is it encouraged.

After feng shui began growing in recognition in the Western market, Phang seems very optimistic about prospects in China where feng shui originated thousands of years ago.

Only in China, people take it far more seriously than as simply a way of arranging furniture.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, I will do it step by step till feng shui is fully accepted," he added.

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