The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) has confirmed reports that three major Chinese banks have withdrawn their participation from its annual Sibos financial services conference, which this year takes place in Osaka, Japan from 29 October to 1 November.
Swift said that Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China have withdrawn all speakers and delegates from Sibos, but that registrations for the event are still ahead of target.
The withdrawals are believed to result from the escalating political dispute between China and Japan over the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea currently controlled by Japan but claimed by both China and Taiwan, and known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
The ‘no shows’ at Sibos are spilling into other high-profile events including the World Bank and IMF meetings next week in Tokyo, which have both been cancelled.
According to Swift delegates from China, both from local Chinese institutions as well as foreign institutions operating in China, were expected to make up about 5% of the total Sibos audience in Osaka. "As regional Asia Pacific registrations are typically done closer to the event, it is too early to make any definite statement on Asian registration levels," it commented.
Although the annual event typically attracts up to 7,000 participants, registrations at this year's Sibos could be down if, as anticipated, Western vendors and banks from Europe and the US tighten budgets and send fewer delegates.