Organizers said on Thursday that a major technology conference scheduled for March in Hong Kong had been canceled and would return in 2023, a new blow to China’s international business hub that has embraced the “zero-govt” strategy.
The annual RISE conference brings together CEOs, start-ups and investors and has been held in Hong Kong since 2015.
In a brief statement, organizers said the decision to postpone was made “because of the continuing uncertainties brought about by the epidemic.”
The move comes after organizers, who announced last December that they would push Hong Kong for Malaysia, failed to choose their venue, before withdrawing their decision nine months later.
RISE initially said that the trip to Kuala Lumpur would expand the event’s presence in Southeast Asia.
But as Malaysia faces a new upsurge of Kovit-19 cases this summer, the company behind the event said it was “no longer possible” to keep it in the country.
At the time, RISE CEO Bedi Cosgrave said the conference “always aims to get back to Hong Kong at some point”, citing past successes in the city.
But while Hong Kong can prevent corona virus infections, its often closed borders and long isolated rules have made it difficult to organize international conferences for a variety of reasons.
Most visitors must undergo hotel isolation for at least three weeks and spend a week in a government camp in a large number of countries with a large number of Omigran variants.
RISE’s growing relationship with Hong Kong has drawn attention at a time when large technology companies are grieving over the crackdown on dissent in Beijing’s financial center.
Hong Kong has long enjoyed more online freedom than China’s mainland, which uses the world’s sophisticated Internet censorship network.
But the National Security Act, which was imposed in Hong Kong by Beijing last year, has given authorities new restrictions, including the powers to remove the website.
The RISE has previously said it has nothing to do with selecting its seats and Hong Kong politics.
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