MIP China, the annual Reed Midem-backed TV project market in China, will this year switch from a physical format to a virtual one. The move was made in response to the lingering effects of the coronavirus on the Chinese economy and those of the countries from which visitors might have travelled.

Three previous editions have been held in the Eastern city of Hangzhou – also the home base of Alibaba. The fourth will be held online over four days from July 28-31.

“With health and safety as our priority, we believe the prudent course is to transform MIP China 2020 into a digital event. We look forward to bringing participants back together for a physical and digital experience in 2021,” MIP China director Ted Baracos told Variety.

The core of MIP China to date has been its Partnership Forum, consisting of one-on-one meetings that organizers broker between like-minded companies. Participants are asked to input their profiles, market goals and get to rank meeting preferences. In return they are served with up to 24 guaranteed one-to-one meetings.

Beyond the core meetings, the physical event previously also packed in networking events, a summit conference, lunches, dinners, and training sessions. The 2020 virtual market will necessarily dispense with the offline mingling, but it will still include matchmaking and conference activities.

Other markets and festivals in the region are taking different approaches. The Shanghai film festival, which postponed its June event, is believed to be looking at bringing it back in late July, but without foreign visitors. The Beijing film festival was cancelled in April, put on a small virtual event in May in partnership with streaming platform iQIYI, and may yet revive a physical festival later this summer.

Hong Kong’s four-day rights market FilMart and its two week film festival were postponed in March. The festival recently confirmed a complete run in August. And FilMart has proposed a three-day market at the end of August. But, concerned that cross-border travel will still be restricted, FilMart organizers are now believed to be looking to replace the HK Convention & Exhibition Centre-based market and trade show with a virtual market instead.