A Greenland Holdings subsidiary is applying for a virtual asset trading license in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported. It is the first state-owned Chinese company to do so. 

Greenland Financial Technology Group CEO James Geng Jing told the Hong Kong newspaper that a new company dedicated to virtual asset trading would be set up and apply for licensing in Hong Kong. Virtual asset trading platforms will need a license to operate or market themselves in that region under Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) rules that go into effect June 1.

Greenland already holds two licenses from the SFC — for securities advising and asset management. It applied for a virtual bank license in 2018 but was not selected. Geng said the new Greenland unit would trade cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and products related to carbon emissions.

Related: China state-backed firm launches two crypto funds in Hong Kong

Greenland Financial Technology Group received a digital banking license in Singapore in 2020. Geng told the newspaper:

“After getting experience providing digital banking in Singapore, along with our expansion in digital business in the mainland in the past five years, we are confident that we are ready to step into Hong Kong now.”

“Having sound regulation and investor protection is the key for Hong Kong to develop as a virtual asset trading hub,” Geng added.

Greenland Financial Technology Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenland Holdings, a Shanghai-based real estate developer that is 46.4% owned by the Shanghai municipal government. It has branched out into several other sectors in recent years, including fintech.

Cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi Global and OKX, both of which have origins in mainland China, applied for Hong Kong virtual asset trading licenses in February, according to the newspaper.

Hong Kong is bucking world trends by moving forward with developing its digital asset market. Some experts say it stands a chance of displacing the United States as a center of the world crypto industry.

Magazine: Hong Kong crypto frenzy, DeFi token surges 550%, NBA China NFTs — Asia Express