Huobi Is ‘Aggressively’ Heading Into the Japanese Market By Acquiring A Local Licensed Crypto Exchange

Huobi, the world’s third largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, enters Japanese market by acquiring the local licensed exchange BitTrade.

In an announcement on Wednestday, Huobi’s wholly owned subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd, will take a majority stake in the exchange which is owned by Singaporean entrepreneur Eric Cheng.

Established in 2016, BitTrade is one of 16 regulated and Japanese government-approved digital assets trading platforms which supports the trading of multiple cryptos, including bitcoin(BTC), bitcoin cash(BCH), ripple(XRP), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC). But Huobi didn’t disclose how much money it paid for the acquisition and the exact ownership stake in BitTrade.

According to Business Insider, Huobi aims to “aggressively scale up the platform” to provide more professional and user-friendly services.

“Leveraging on BitTrade’s leadership team and its Japanese government-approved license, this is just the beginning as we look to grow BitTrade into the most dominant player in the Japanese cryptocurrency market,” said Chris Lee, board secretary and Chief Financial Officer for Huob.

China’s complete ban on crypto tradings forces Huobi to move its head office to Singapore. In recent month, the leading cryptocurrency exchange is stepping up its effort to expand to other market and consolidate its position.

The deal comes several weeks after Huobi bought the controlling stake at Hong Kong-listed electronics firm Pantronics Holdings via a backdoor listing. On September 11, Huobi’s autonomous digital asset exchange HADAX has been combined with Huobi Global and  been upgraded to Huobi NEXT.

In late June, Huobi Pro announced that it would cease offering trading services to users in Japan from July 2 since it wasn’t registered with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), according to Coinpost. In fact, the FSA has tightened its review process of new exchanges. Over the past four months, the FSA has conducted on-site inspection of the 16 licensed crypto exchanges in the country, while issuing a wave of punitive measures and ordering suspension of some platforms. Therefore, the difficulty to apply for a new licence is increasing in Japan.

Different from Binance’s expansion strategy which focuses on islands, Huobi seems to favor the mainstream countries. Huobi CEO Li Lin pointed out in July that Huobi would definitely enter the Japanese market because “ Japan is not only an economic powerhouse, but also a blockchain powerhouse.”

Currently, Huobi has offices in Singapore, United States, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, among others.

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