The announcement was made on the sidelines of Web Summit, which is currently underway with more than 100,000 people from 160 countries taking part online.
The conference organizers said in a statement that they have agreed a three-year partnership with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, a government agency.
“Hosting Rise in Kuala Lumpur is going to expand us into the exciting region of South East Asia where the entire world is looking at right now for growth in the tech sector,” said Rise co-host, Casey Lau.
But the loss of Rise will deliver another blow to Hong Kong’s conference and exhibition industry, which was dinged by last year’s pro-democracy protests. The number of conference goers arriving in the city fell 14% in 2019 compared to 2018, according to research from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
This year, the industry is grappling with the fallout from Covid-19. A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) of its members in August found that at least 52 exhibitions and conferences had been canceled or postponed. Those events were expected to attract more than 3.4 million visitors.
Hong Kong’s global image has also taken a beating this year, threatening its position as Asia’s preeminent financial hub.
The move followed months of civil unrest in the city in 2019, when protesters opposed a controversial bill that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China. The protests, which sometimes turned violent, eventually morphed into a call for greater democracy and an inquiry into allegations of police brutality.
Protesters shut down roads, public transportation and even the city’s international airport at one point. Business conferences, art events and music festivals were canceled as event organizers were unable to guarantee attendees’ safety.