Over 80 crypto firms eyeing presence in Hong Kong: Financial Secretary

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More than 80 virtual asset-related firms across Mainland China and foreign nations have expressed interest in establishing a presence in Hong Kong, amid efforts from the city to become a leading hub for Web3. 

In a March 20 speech in Hong Kong, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christian Hui, stated that Hong Kong is attracting “interest” from various crypto firms across the world since last October.

Hui noted that since the Hong Kong government released its policy statement on Virtual Asset’s Development in October 2022, over 80 virtual asset-related companies have expressed interest in “establishing their presence in Hong Kong,” as of the end of February 2023.

He added that 23 crypto firms have already indicated that “they planned to establish their presence” in the thriving city. The firms included virtual asset (VA) exchanges, blockchain infrastructure firms and blockchain network security firms.

Hui noted that these companies were interested to learn more about the “implementation details” of the policy statement, as well as regulatory requirements, visa requirements for talent admission as well as targeted support measures for the virtual assets and Web3 sector.

Hui said that Hong Kong already has over 800 fintech companies and that it is “well-positioned” to be a leading hub for Web3, noting this year’s budget allocation of “$50 million” to “expedite the Web3 ecosystem.”

Related: Hong Kong’s crypto ambition gets subtle nod from Beijing: Report

Hui further reiterated Hong Kong’s plans to establish a licensing regime for virtual asset service providers in June 2023. He suggested this could lead to more crypto firms flocking to Hong Kong, noting:

“Through the establishment of a comprehensive and clear regulatory system, we are expecting more quality VA enterprises to set up businesses in Hong Kong or to seek development opportunities in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is currently accepting submissions for feedback on its licensing regime as part of a consultation process that will continue until March 31.

It proposed that all centralized cryptocurrency trading platforms operating in Hong Kong must be licensed with the regulatory body.