August 8, 2022

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HONG KONG—Organizers of a prominent international technology conference are postponing a gathering in Hong Kong...

HONG KONG—Organizers of a prominent international technology conference are postponing a gathering in Hong Kong that was set for March, the latest disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic to the city’s role as a global business hub.
An executive for the Dublin-based company that was organizing the annual RISE Conference said to a participant in an email, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, that uncertainties due to the pandemic have continued, and after much consideration organizers had decided to postpone it until March 2023. A company spokeswoman confirmed the news.

Web Summit, the company that hosts popular conferences that typically draw thousands and feature global technology executives and startup entrepreneurs, was first held in Hong Kong in 2015. Its speakers have included Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Joseph Tsai and Stripe Inc. co-founder and President
John Collison.
It was called off in 2020 amid the pandemic, then was held in Malaysia this year. In September, Web Summit said the gathering would return to Hong Kong next year.
In a statement at the time, a senior Hong Kong government official hailed it as testimony to Hong Kong’s success in containing the pandemic and keeping infection rates low, providing organizers with confidence to stage events in the city.
Businesses are scrambling to deal with Hong Kong’s tough quarantine rules enacted to keep Covid-19 out of the community, with sporting events, music festivals and conferences being postponed.
Arrivals must stay for at least two weeks in government-approved hotels, paying their own way. Travelers from countries designated higher risk such as the U.S. are quarantined for three weeks.

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The city has had near zero locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in recent months.
Top executives for global banks used to routinely visit their staff in Hong Kong, for many have their regional hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
FedEx Corp.
said last month it would close its crew base in Hong Kong and move pilots outside the city, citing what it said was Hong Kong’s fast-changing quarantine restrictions.
Write to Newley Purnell at [email protected]

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