One of South Korea’s biggest technology companies is abandoning Hong Kong as a base for back-up data storage because of privacy fears, reported the Financial Times.
Naver — a Google rival that dominates the South Korean market for web services and owns a majority of Japan-based WhatsApp competitor Line — confirmed it was relocating its data back-up center from Hong Kong to an expanded site in Singapore. The move is the first by a major foreign tech group to formally retreat from the territory in response to China’s new national security laws, analysts said.
“We have recently made the decision, considering various factors, including Hong Kong’s National Security Law,” Naver said.
Its exit comes amid widespread concern among foreign groups that they will be forced to hand over private user data to Hong Kong authorities as well as face censorship by the Chinese Communist party. Similar fears have stopped many US tech companies from operating within China for years.