Organizers said on Thursday that the large-scale technology conference originally scheduled to be held in Hong Kong in March has been cancelled and will resume in 2023, which has dealt a new blow to the international business centers that have accepted China’s “zero coronavirus” strategy.

The annual RISE conference brings together CEOs, start-ups and investors, and has been held in Hong Kong since 2015.

Organizers said in a brief statement that they chose to postpone it because “the uncertainty caused by the pandemic continues.”

The move was made after organizers hesitated about their choice of venue, and announced in December last year that they would abandon Hong Kong to go to Malaysia before withdrawing their decision in nine months.

RISE initially stated that moving to Kuala Lumpur will expand the influence of the event to Southeast Asia.

However, as Malaysia faces a surge in new Covid-19 cases this summer, the company behind the incident stated that it is “no longer feasible” to keep it in the country.

At the time, RISE CEO Paddy Cosgrave stated that the conference “always intends to return to Hong Kong at some stage” and cited past successes in Hong Kong.

However, although Hong Kong has managed to contain the coronavirus infection, its basically closed borders and lengthy quarantine rules make it difficult to arrange international meetings due to various reasons.

Most arrivals must undergo hotel quarantine for at least three weeks, and more and more Omicron variant countries have to spend one week in government camps.

RISE’s growing relationship with Hong Kong attracted attention, when major technology companies were concerned about Beijing’s suppression of dissidents in the financial center.

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Hong Kong has long enjoyed greater online freedom than mainland China, which has deployed the world’s most complex Internet censorship network.

But Beijing’s national security law enforced on Hong Kong last year gave the authorities new control rights, including Internet deletion rights.

RISE has previously stated that its choice of venue has nothing to do with Hong Kong politics.

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