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Society

Hong Kong population drop accelerates amid worst COVID outbreak

Exodus of skilled workers worries business groups

Though Hong Kong's airport arrival halls are now eerily quiet, many people come to its departure gates to say goodbye to emigrating residents.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's population slipped 0.3% to 7.403 million last year, according to government estimates, raising further concerns over the city's future as a global financial center as pandemic isolation and political turmoil feed an exodus of talent.

A net 23,600 people left the city last year, extending a drop-off that started in 2020. While the airport's arrival halls, once among the busiest in the world, are now eerily quiet, crowds continue to line up at departure gates.

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