For Hong Kong, a chill sets in as rich China tourists shop elsewhere

March 19, 2015 9:07 PM

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese tourists are rapidly deserting Hong Kong, leaving retailers who built businesses around once insatiable demand from mainland neighbors with bigger but emptier stores and squeezing the whole city's visitor-dependent economy.

With cross-border tensions exacerbated by pro-democracy Hong Kong protests, tour groups visiting Hong Kong from China plunged about 80 percent in early March. A Beijing crackdown on conspicuous spending by mainlanders also shows no signs of letting up, sending tourists further afield.

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