A major tech conference in Hong Kong in March has been canceled and will return in 2023, organizers said on Thursday, in a fresh blow to an international trade hub that has adopted China’s “zero-Covid” strategy.
The annual RISE conference brings together CEOs, startup and investor and has been held in Hong Kong since 2015.
In a brief statement, the organizers said they decided to postpone “because of uncertainties”. global pandemic has continued”.
The move came after organizers announced last December that they would be leaving Hong Kong for Malaysia before retracting their decision nine months later.
RISE initially said that moving to Kuala Lumpur would expand the event’s presence in Southeast Asia.
But faced a fresh surge in the form of Malaysia COVID-19 In cases this summer, the company behind the incident said it was “no longer possible” to keep it in the country.
At the time, RISE CEO Paddy Cosgrave said the conference “has always intended to return to Hong Kong at some stage”, citing past success in the city.
But while Hong Kong has managed to keep coronavirus infections at bay, its largely closed borders and lengthy quarantine rules have made it a difficult place to arrange international conferences for a variety of reasons.
Most arrivals have to undergo at least three weeks of hotel quarantine and a growing number of countries with high numbers of Omicron editions have to spend one of those weeks in a government camp.
RISE’s growing relationship with Hong Kong has drawn attention at a time when major tech firms are upset over Beijing’s crackdown on discontent in the financial centre.
Hong Kong has long enjoyed more online freedom than mainland China, which deploys the world’s most sophisticated Internet censorship network.
But a national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing last year has given officials new controls, including internet takedown powers.
RISE has previously said that its choice of venues has nothing to do with Hong Kong politics.