Justin Sun, a crypto entrepreneur and DeFi industry leader, has announced that he will relocate the Asia headquarters of crypto exchange Huobi from Singapore to Hong Kong. Justin Sun intends to profit from the city’s efforts to promote itself as a digital asset hub.
The announcement comes as the Chinese special administrative area contemplates new licensing and regulatory measures that would allow it to service retail customers.
Huobi plans to move Asia’s Headquarters to Hong Kong
The SFC recently welcomed public feedback on the revised Hong Kong licensing plans, with the new regime set to take effect in June. After word of the anticipated changes, financial services firms lined up to participate in the new, extended system in December.
Sun, who also founded TRON’s blockchain network, told Nikkei Asia that he intended to grow Huobi’s operations in the financial center. He plans to grow the number of employees there from 50 to 200 by the end of the year.
Justin Sun mentioned the crypto-friendly measures that the Hong Kong government has recently adopted as a consideration in his decision. These measures include permitting retail participation in the market.
Moreover, the new structure, which requires crypto exchanges to register with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), would permit the exchange to expand its services within the city.
After appealing to the city’s regulators for a license to trade cryptocurrencies last year, he expressed absolute confidence that these regulators would grant Huobi one. The company would establish a subsidiary in Hong Kong called Huobi Hong Kong. Sun stated that he would relocate to Hong Kong within the next month.
These three years, Hong Kong’s regulatory framework has seen a lot of change for the better, so I am very confident in the future of crypto compliance in Asia, Hong Kong, and hopefully China.Justin Sun
Furthermore, he stated that in order to attract more digital asset companies and investors, the Hong Kong government would need to establish a stable and predictable regulatory framework.
Huobi’s market changes amid the crypto winter
Huobi announced a 20% layoff in January, citing it as part of the company’s restructuring following Sun’s takeover in October. In addition, the exchange announced in February that it would discontinue its Huobi Cloud Wallet in May due to “strategic and product adjustments.”
Huobi is also growing its services in other regions. In January, it announced the launch of a Visa-backed crypto-to-fiat debit card that Huobi users in the European Economic Area will be able to use globally. The card will be available in the second quarter of this year.
Last October, a buyout vehicle operated by Hong Kong-based asset management firm About Capital Management acquired Huobi Global’s controlling stake from founder Leon Li. Huobi’s new owners have been tight-lipped about Sun’s role. However, the crypto exchange later stated in a blog post last month that it was under Sun’s direction.
Sun’s move comes as western countries such as the United States tighten crypto regulations in the aftermath of the November collapse of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, FTX. In addition, following last year’s market crisis, regional rival Singapore, which has lured many digital asset companies with its more favorable rules, is also preparing to introduce stronger crypto regulations.
Huobi was among the first Chinese crypto businesses to leave as a result of Beijing’s crackdown on the industry. After restricting bitcoin mining, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, banned all cryptocurrency transactions in late September 2021.
OKX founder Star Xu stated in another Twitter post on Friday that his company began its Hong Kong license application last year. On Monday, the firm’s managing director, Lennix Lai, retweeted the message, stating that the company has a staff of more than 20 employees working on compliance in Hong Kong.
Finally, Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss stated on Twitter this week that the “next bull run” in cryptocurrencies will begin in the East.