One property landlord in Hong Kong, Hongkong Land, has reportedly leased out commercial office space to a crypto asset company called HashKey Group after clarity was established around crypto regulations.
All cryptocurrency businesses operating in Hong Kong must have a local license and are only allowed to offer services just to professional investors. The director of Hongkong Land, Neil Anderson, thinks that the decision to lease commercial property to cryptocurrency businesses and companies was majorly reliant on the recent cryptocurrency regulations that were set by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC):
“The SFC’s recent decision to regulate digital asset exchanges in Hong Kong gives us confidence that this new asset class has a regulatory framework, and therefore a future within the finance industry.”
Hong Kong authorities need crypto companies to be licensed locally and provide their services just to professional investors. These regulatory decisions around crypto have resulted in mixed feelings among the local investors. Nonetheless, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui, has now defended the recent proposal to ban retail cryptocurrency trading.
Hui stated that a regulatory infrastructure that bans retail cryptocurrency activity help against “market manipulation, money laundering, and terrorist financing.”
According to a statement by Hongkong Land, HashKey Group has now rented a whole floor in the Three Exchange Square building located in central Hong Kong. The building is partially owned by the Hong Kong government.
On the other hand, the demand for commercial spaces and locations from the traditional banks is dropping, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. HashKey is currently operating from a business park that is dedicated to startups and will be occupying space that was previously owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
Bloomberg said that mainstream fintech giants, like BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered, have now reportedly reduced their office space. That is supported by data acquired from Jones Lang LaSalle that shows a 9.6% vacancy in the central region, which has nearly doubled from last year.