After Pantronics, Huobi acquires licensed crypto exchange in Japan

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is on the verge of acquiring a regulated Japanese cryptocurrency broker, in a deal that will confirm the group’s expansion into Japan’s cryptocurrency investment sector.

According to an announcement from the firm, Huobi has concluded a deal with BitTrade, agreeing to acquire a majority stake in the company from its sole owner, Eric Cheng. BitTrade is one of a handful of cryptocurrency exchanges licensed to operate in Japan, and a member of the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association.

Acquiring a license effectively provides Huobi with a platform in Japan, from which the firm intends to build its reach through BitTrade.

Founded in 2013, Huobi is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China, processing over $500 million in daily volume. The deal will see its subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd. acquire 100% of the shares in True Joyful Limited, BVI, the sole beneficial owner of the company.

According to a statement from Huobi’s chief financial officer Chris Lee, the deal will now allow the firm to focus on growing within the Japanese market.

“Looking ahead, we will leverage on Mr. Cheng’s international network and passion for blockchain technology as we continue to expand geographically,” Lee said. “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.”

The acquisition comes in the immediate aftermath of a similar move to buy Hong Kong listed company Pantronics Holdings, which some have suggested could allow the firm to become listed in Hong Kong by the back door.

Over 66% of the firm is now owned and controlled by Huobi group of companies, following a deal concluded just a matter of weeks ago. This week’s development finally provides Huobi with the access to the Japanese market they have been aiming for, at a time of rapid regional expansion at the firm.

An earlier venture with Japan’s SBI Bank would have seen Huobi with a stake in the bank’s recently launched VCTRADE platform. However, the deal was scrapped after the Coincheck hack, when the bank opted to develop their security technology in-house instead.

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