Tech conference locks Hong Kong to Malaysia

The annual RISE conference brings together CEOs, start-ups and investors. (Facebook photo)

HONG KONG: A major Asia-focused technology conference announced today will leave Hong Kong in favor of Malaysia as another blow to the pressure from China’s financial hub to attract technology talent.

The annual RISE conference brings together CEOs, start-ups and investors and has been held in Hong Kong for the past five years.

But organizers said they would move their annual conference to Kuala Lumpur in 2022.

“Hosting RISE in Kuala Lumpur is set to expand the event into an exciting region of Southeast Asia,” RISE co-presenter Casey Lau said in a statement.

The decision comes as major tech companies are worried about Beijing’s accelerating crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong after last year’s massive and sometimes violent protests.

In June, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law that gives authorities significant powers to access corporate servers and networks.

The crackdown prompted the US to no longer declare Hong Kong sufficiently autonomous from authoritarian China, which is blocking access to many of the world’s best technology companies.

After the law passed, major tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter said they are suspending requests from the Hong Kong government and law enforcement agencies for information about users.

Plans for an underwater data cable between Los Angeles and Hong Kong were also dropped after the US government expressed fears that China would steal data from it.

RISE made no mention of the rapidly changing political situation in Hong Kong in its statement explaining the movement.

“We are looking for the best homes to host our events and are making long-term agreements with cities,” a company spokesperson told AFP.

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