Tech Companies Consider Moving Out of Hong Kong Due to the New National Security Laws
The new national security law passed by the Chinese government in Hong Kong in June has caused great concerns for many tech companies who are considering relocating their centers in new countries.
Hong Kong has been thriving for the past years and has been one of the financial centers for the international market. According to Heritage.org, it is second in ranking among the 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of economic freedom and one of the top five countries and/or cities with the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita according to World Bank. As protests continued in 2019 against the extradition bill, Hong Kong has reported in late 2019 that it has fallen into a recession. Currently, a new security law passed by the Chinese government has become another major concern for a number of tech companies, and some are already looking at relocating their centers in a different country.
Tik Tok is one of the first internet companies to stop operations in Hong Kong when the new national security law was passed by China because of the growing concerns that the user data could be shared with the Chinese government for political-motivated reasons.
Naver, often referred to as “Google of South Korea” is one of the major search engines that has moved out of Hong Kong and relocate its backup data center to Singapore in early July for fear that the new national security law can violate users' privacy and access users’ information. “All data in the data backup center in Hong Kong has securely been moved to Singapore, where we can better manage and protect our user data,” it [Naver] said. “Data in Hong Kong was deleted earlier this month and servers there were reformatted.”
The New York Times is one of the major American newspapers that will move its digital news operation from Hong Kong to Seoul, South Korea. Some of The New York Times staff have already faced difficulties in obtaining or continuing their work permits in Hong Kong.
During this time, some other U.S. tech companies are still reviewing details about the new law. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and other major U.S tech companies said that they temporarily stop providing user data to the Hong Kong authorities as they are still looking into the law. As tech companies and some other businesses consider moving out of Hong Kong, many wait to see the transformations that may occur in this “one country, under two systems”.
For further details regarding the new national security law, please take a look at a short brief overview by the South China Morning Post.
Sources: World Bank, Heritage.org, BBC, The New York Times, Washington Post
By: Noeut Sokhoeun