In October, shortly after Huobi sold a majority stake to Hong Kong fund About Capital Management, Sun told Coindesk that there is “definitely” a possibility of Huobi “willing to expand the business in China” if the government allows crypto trading again. Beijing banned all such trading activity in September 2021.
In his Twitter thread on Monday, Sun said China’s crypto market is “on the rise” and “experts predict that China will dominate the next crypto bull market”.
Sun did not mention a timeline for moving to Hong Kong, and neither he nor Huobi responded to requests for comment.
Sun would be the first high-profile Chinese crypto personality to relocate to Hong Kong since the city announced new industry policies at the end of October. Plans to allow greater retail participation in the local crypto market along with other changes came less than two weeks before FTX declared bankruptcy, sending cryptocurrency prices plummeting and shock waves through the industry.
Before the new rules, Hong Kong had for years held a more conservative stance towards crypto, although never banning such investment activity as in the mainland. In its pivot last fall, the government promised that the “one country, two systems” regime that offers the city some measure of autonomy guarantees it can support the industry.
Huobi was one of the original wave of Chinese crypto firms to flee the country amid Beijing’s escalating crackdowns. It was founded in the country in 2013, but it is now registered in the Seychelles. In November, the company dropped the character “coin” from its Chinese name while navigating its ownership change.
The crypto exchange is also among many other companies in the industry taking cost-cutting measures amid a struggling market. Huobi said that it plans to lay off about 20 per cent of its staff and maintain “a very lean team” going forward.
While bitcoin has recovered from last November, surging past US$20,000 again this month, smaller coins have not fared as well, and many companies exposed to FTX have either gone out of business themselves or wound up in financial straits.