Ironically, in the bid for the much coveted INET 2000, Hong Kong lost out to Yokohoma because its financing was not substantial to the Japanese city’s.
Hong Kong and Yokohoma were in a dead heat to host the Internet Society’s (Isoc) annual summit for 2000 after Beijing’s bid was rejected.
Isoc’s preferred criteria for such a bid is that candidate’s raise US$1 million in cash and service/infrastructure contributions. Hong Kong essentially lost the bid because it was not able to come up with as much cash as Yokohoma.
Some Hong Kong Industry officials have indicated the Hong Kong government could have done more to secure the bid.
“Once again, as far as the Internet is concerned the Hong Kong government has failed to step up to the plate,” said Michael Westcott, managing director in Asia for Penton Media Inc., which owns the Internet World trade show line and magazines.
One industry observer pointed out that if the Hong Kong government could be a major sponsor of the HK$13 billion (US$1.68 billion) Cyberport project, it could have provided a million U.S. in cash for the bid.
Nevertheless, members of the Hong Kong INET 2000 Bid Committee were happy with the speed and the strength that the Hong Kong Internet community put the bid together.
“There wasn’t much time to put this bid together,” said Pindar Wong, a well-known Internet entrepreneur in Hong Kong and a driving force behind Hong Kong’s bid. “We had a bid that met all the criteria but this is a competitive bid.”
“You are competing on a global stage,” continued Wong. “For Hong Kong standards, this was a fantastic bid.”
Wong pointed out that “the ironic thing was that we were outbid in financials” – particularly in a city that is one of the financial capitals of the world.
However, Isoc officials were impressed with the Hong Kong bid and the development of Hong Kong’s Internet industry and indicated that they were opening the competitions for 2001, 2002, 2003 early.