Coronavirus forces postponement of business start-ups festival in HK, health care conference in Shanghai

04-Feb-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The coronavirus epidemic has forced more business events to be postponed, including a major annual start-up promotion initiative in Hong Kong.

Launched in 2013 by InvestHK, this month’s “StartmeupHK Festival” will be rescheduled to an unspecified date later in the year, said the government body responsible for promoting foreign direct investment in the city.

“In light of the current situation relating to the coronavirus, Invest Hong Kong and the key partners of the StartmeupHK Festival 2020 announced today the postponement of the festival scheduled for 10-15 February,” said a statement late on Friday. “Please stay tuned for further announcements about the new dates and details.”

The festival had been due to take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

Some 17,000 delegates, 300 speakers and 400 exhibitors from 54 countries and territories were supposed to be attending, according to the festival’s website.

International academics and businesspeople would have showcased how the latest artificial intelligence and data analytics technologies are being deployed to enhance cities’ sustainability and desirability.

Another part of the event would have focused on how technology is influencing industries such as video games, dating apps, retail and tourism.

Another key feature of the festival is the third “Jumpstarter” global start-up investment pitch competition organised by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and sponsored by HSBC. The fund is a non-profit initiative of Alibaba Holdings, which owns the South China Morning Post.

Some 40 finalists from eight cities in five nations had been expected to present their products and services to a panel of judges, vying for an investment of up to $5 million and $100,000 of cash prizes.

The organiser of the competition said it will still be held, albeit in an online format via videoconferencing. However, participants will not be able to reinforce their messages through on-site exhibitions and demonstrations as in the original format.

Meanwhile, the 11th China Healthcare Investment Conference, scheduled for March 24 to 26 in Shanghai, will also be put back. Senior executives from 65 companies had been expected to attend.

“Due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak, we made the difficult decision to postpone our joint conference event of China Healthcare Investment Conference and Healthcare Capital & Connections Summit,” the CHIC’s organising committee said in a statement on Sunday.

A raft of business events ranging from exhibitions and property sales to financial product launches and spring receptions have either been cancelled or delayed because of the virus, which has now killed more than 300 people in China.


Category: Hong Kong

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