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The finance industry is ratcheting up pressure on Hong Kong to ease its strict quarantine rules and abandon its zero-COVID-19 policy after a survey found almost half of major international banks and asset managers are contemplating to move staff or functions out of the city.

In a letter sent over the weekend to Financial Secretary Paul Chan that was seen by Bloomberg News, the Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association — the top lobby group for financial firms in the city — said the hard-line approach has put Hong Kong’s status as financial center, its broader economic recovery and competitiveness at risk.

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