Why is ChatGPT banned in Hong Kong?

Why exactly is ChatGPT banned in Hong Kong? Let's find out.

Why is ChatGPT banned in Hong Kong?
Source: REUTERS/Florence Lo

In today's fast-paced artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, OpenAI's ChatGPT has become a household name. This powerful machine is renowned for giving precise answers to a wide range of questions and making information easily digestible. But despite its global popularity, there's an obstacle for AI enthusiasts in Hong KongChatGPT isn't available in the city. Today, we'll explore the reasons behind this restriction and shed light on the challenges encountered by tech-savvy people in Hong Kong who are eager to tap into the capabilities of ChatGPT.

So, why exactly is ChatGPT banned in Hong Kong? Let's find out.

Why is ChatGPT banned in Hong Kong?

Open AI's logo, ChatGPT's maker
Source: Pexels/Andrew Neel

Have you ever wondered why you can't access ChatGPT in Hong Kong? Well, it's not exactly banned. It's just not available in the city from OpenAI. Some speculation for the reason has revolved around privacy concerns.

But in some businesses and universities, it has been banned. Many businesses have worried about data security related to ChatGPT. There are also concerns within the academic community about the potential misuse of this powerful AI tool.

Prominent universities in Hong Kong have expressed worries about the rise in plagiarism, copyright infringement and other violations that might happen if students have unrestricted access to ChatGPT. As a result, the public opinion on this AI tool is quite diverse. While university students see it as a convenient study aid, educators worry that it may hinder critical thinking skills and encourage cheating.

Interestingly, in May 2023, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) came up with a solution. They introduced "HKUST ChatGPT," an exclusive language model available only to HKUST students.

And most recently, in August, some Hong Kong universities decided to lift their bans on ChatGPT and allow it to be incorporated into the curriculum as a tool – with restrictions. Hong Kong University Associate Vice-President Pauline Chiu said at a press conference that they weren't trying to “police” students’ use of generative AI or even interrogate them on how much they use it within their assignments but to give them a sense of responsibility. She also emphasized how AI tools like ChatGPT could actually be used to train students in their critical thinking abilities.

How can I  access ChatGPT in Hong Kong?

OpneAI's ChatGPT on a mobile phone
Source: Pexels/Shantanu Kumar

To access ChatGPT in Hong Kong, one popular option is to use a virtual private network or VPN. Lots of VPNs are available in the market, including free ones. Google Chrome is recommended for its user-friendly extension capabilities, unlike Safari and other platforms. While seeking alternatives may seem tempting, many other AI machines are not as intuitive to use as ChatGPT and may have limited features and knowledge.

Another workaround is to access ChatGPT through Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform. So, once you're signed up and onboarded with an Azure account, you should be able to also access ChatGPT services.

Steps to install a free VPN

The logos of mobile apps, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Netflix, are displayed on a screen
Source: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Ready to install a free VPN and unlock ChatGPT while you're in Hong Kong? Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Search for "Free VPN for Chrome — VPN Proxy VeePN" on the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Click "Add to Chrome" to install the extension.
  3. Locate the puzzle piece icon in the top right-hand corner of the browser.
  4. Pin the VPN extension for easy access.
  5. Create a ChatGPT account, and you're all set to start asking away!