RISE tech conference to exit Hong Kong, move to Kuala Lumpur

Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks about the role of politics in technological innovation at the 2018 RISE conference. Photo via Facebook/RISE
Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks about the role of politics in technological innovation at the 2018 RISE conference. Photo via Facebook/RISE

RISE conference, one of the largest tech gatherings in Asia, is leaving its Hong Kong base after five years in the city and moving to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The conference announced the departure on Thursday.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed building RISE to what it is today in Hong Kong, and have made some long-lasting friends in the city,” said Paddy Cosgrave, founder of parent company Web Summit.

Since its 2015 debut in Hong Kong, RISE conference has been held in the territory every year. The conference did not take place this year however after anti-government protests forced organizers to cancel the 2020 event last November, a decision made during the height of the demonstrations.

The annual networking conference attracts tech companies around the world, drawing pioneering start-ups from industries ranging from fin-tech to education to big data.

Over 380 speakers, including executives from tech giants Uber, Spotify and Tinder, spoke at last year’s star-studded conference.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam was among the high-profile attendees of the 2018 conference, during which she spoke about the intersection of politics and technological innovation with a presenter from US news channel CNBC.

RISE’s exit comes amid a time of uncertainty for Hong Kong, which last year was battered by months of protests against Beijing’s increasing encroachment on the Chinese territory.

A sweeping national security law enacted in late June, targeting the city’s pro-democracy movement, has cast doubt upon the future of Hong Kong’s business environment, education sector and the already dwindling press freedoms.

RISE did not explain the reason for its departure, and has not responded to Coconuts‘ request for comment at the time of writing.

The conference’s Kuala Lumpur debut is slated for March 2022.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: TECH

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