A number of Chinese state-owned banks’ branches in Hong Kong have started offering services to local cryptocurrency companies, Bloomberg reported on Monday, as the city welcomes a growing list of cryptocurrency and digital asset firms looking to expand or relocate to the city.

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Fast facts

  • The Hong Kong entities of Bank of Communications Co., Bank of China Ltd. and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank have started to offer services to local crypto firms or made inquiries about the same, according to the Bloomberg report that cited sources familiar with the matter.
  • Local companies in the crypto industry have traditionally had difficulties setting up corporate bank accounts, and the moves of these state-owned lenders reflect China’s backing in trying to boost the digital asset industry in Hong Kong, according to the report.
  • China banned crypto transactions on the mainland in September 2021, while Hong Kong has been embracing the sector with the October release of policy documents. The city aims to regain its position as an international finance hub for digital assets and companies involved in developing the Internet through decentralized blockchains, known as Web3.
  • Over 80 foreign and mainland China companies have expressed their interest in establishing a Web3 operation in Hong Kong, ahead of new crypto regulations that will take effect from June, Christopher Hui, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said last week.
  • Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan said last month that the government is setting aside HK$50 million (US$6.37 million) to develop the sector, which he calls a “golden opportunity” to lead innovative development.

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