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Asia tech conference ditches Hong Kong for Malaysia

RISE Conference (RISE Conference Homepage)
RISE Conference (RISE Conference Homepage)
HONG KONG (AFP) -- A major Asia-focused tech conference announced Thursday it is ditching Hong Kong in favour of Malaysia in a fresh blow to the Chinese financial hub's push to attract tech talent.

The annual RISE Conference brings together CEOs, startups and investors and has been held in Hong Kong over the last five years.

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

"Hosting RISE in Kuala Lumpur is going to expand the event into an exciting region of Southeast Asia," Casey Lau, co-host of RISE said in a statement.

The decision comes as major tech firms fret over the accelerating crackdown by Beijing on dissent in Hong Kong after last year's huge and sometimes violent democracy protests.

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

The crackdown prompted the United States to declare Hong Kong no longer sufficiently autonomous from authoritarian China, which blocks access to many of the world's top tech companies.

After the law the was enacted, major tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter said they were suspending requests from the Hong Kong government and law enforcement authorities for information on users.

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

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

"We look for the best homes to host our events and secure long term deals with cities," a company spokesperson told AFP.

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