Hong Kong's economy barely expanded in the first quarter as exports slumped and fewer mainland Chinese tourists visited.

The Hong Kong government said Friday that the Asian financial center's economy grew 0.4 percent in the January-March period compared with the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The government reported "visibly slower growth in tourist arrivals and weaker tourist spending."

Mainland Chinese make up most of the visitors to the former British colony and they have been estimated to account for a third of all retail sales.

But their numbers have fallen in recent months following rowdy protests by activists angered at how their voracious buying of everything from baby formula to luxury goods has warped the local economy.