How to use ChatGPT in Hong Kong

Where are we now with ChatGPT and AI generative language tools, in general, in Hong Kong?

How to use ChatGPT in Hong Kong
ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken March 31, 2023. Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The backstory: OK, first things first, ChatGPT is the hottest thing around right now. The chatbot by OpenAI has over 100 million users, and its website generated 1.8 billion visitors a month from February to April. And, with the recent launch of the ChatGPT app, usage is just set to skyrocket even more. Since then, other companies worldwide have raced to create similar platforms. Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing, Alibaba’s AliMe and Baidu’s Ernie all want a piece of the action.

Now the thing is, ChatGPT is unavailable in Hong Kong, which means that in order to use it, you actually have to use a VPN and connect to another place available to use the platform. But even though this is the case, there are government agencies, companies and educational institutions that are championing the new tech across the city, trying to encourage adoption and innovation.

The development: So where are we now with ChatGPT and AI generative language tools, in general, in Hong Kong? Well, in April, joining other governments around the world, China’s internet agency put in place some rules to try and regulate the technology. Specifically, companies in China that provide generative AI need to proactively do things like try to stop fake information and ensure that there isn’t content floating around that harms personal privacy or violates intellectual property. This became hugely relevant because, fast forward to May, China detained someone that had allegedly used ChatGPT to create fake news about a train crash for profit, with state media saying it was China’s first criminal case related to the AI tool.

The Hong Kong government has also come out to say it won’t be using ChatGPT within the government while it’s still blocked in the city by OpenAI. On top of this, it may look to create a task force to see whether laws are needed to regulate these AI tools. But, with that said, government officials have said that Hong Kong plans to create its own version of ChatGPT so it doesn’t fall behind from a tech and innovation standpoint, but the details and timelines of this are still up in the air.

Meanwhile, universities have had differing views on this. For example, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is trying to get its professors to include ChatGPT and other generative AI models in its curriculum, and it’s offering a big sum of money to those who do. But The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have said that if students use these tools to create their work, presenting it as their own, it would be considered plagiarism. Meanwhile, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has said that AI can be used sometimes, but if it isn’t used properly, students can be expelled.

Key comments:

“We’ve noticed that some countries have temporarily banned the application of relevant tools due to their concerns about privacy protection,” said Hong Kong’s technology minister, Sun Dong to reporters. “As for Hong Kong, given the fact that it hasn’t been granted access rights for using ChatGPT by its company OpenAI and the potential risks, the government so far has no plan to introduce its formal application for internal use.”

“Since the implications are certain to be significant, however, it will take a while for us to settle on a long-term policy. We, therefore, need to adopt a short-term policy. This is it: as an interim measure, we prohibit the use of ChatGPT or any other AI-based tool for all classroom, coursework and assessment tasks at HKU,” said Professor Ian Holliday, HKU’s vice president for teaching and learning.

“We want all faculty members to understand that AI is here, and it’s going to have a large impact on the workforce and the skill sets that students need when they graduate. Students are already using it, so the question becomes, how can we leverage it for learning and encourage responsible and ethical best practices for both professors and students?” said Sean McMinn, director of the HKUST Centre for Education Innovation (CEI).


How to access ChatGPT in Hong Kong?

Accessing ChatGPT in Hong Kong requires the use of a virtual private network (VPN).

Is ChatGPT available in Hong Kong?

No. Currently, ChatGPT is not accessible in Hong Kong except through a VPN.

How to register for ChatGPT in Hong Kong?

To register for ChatGPT in Hong Kong, install a VPN on your device and then sign up with your email on the ChatGPT page.

When will ChatGPT be available in Hong Kong?

At the moment, there are no plans for ChatGPT to be available directly in Hong Kong. But, HKUST has developed its version of ChatGPT exclusively for their students' use.

Why is ChatGPT not available in Hong Kong?

ChatGPT is not available in Hong Kong right now because of security concerns, prevention of false information spread and to avoid academic plagiarism and misuse.

Read our full guide on ChatGPT HK here.