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Top Chinese Asset Manager Moves to Launch Bitcoin ETF in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong branch of Harvest Fund Management, a Chinese asset management company, has submitted an application for a Bitcoin ETF on January 26. This represents the first such application in Hong Kong, as reported by Tencent News on Monday.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is reportedly fast-tracking the approval process for the ETF, with plans to list it on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange shortly after the Chinese New Year, which falls between February 10 and February 17 this year.

Harvest Fund Management primarily operates as a Chinese asset management firm, offering its services to pension funds, profit-sharing plans, insurance companies, and businesses. As of 2021, the company managed assets valued at $121 billion.

At the time of this report, Harvest had not responded to Cryptonews’ request for comment, and the SFC declined to provide any comments.

This development follows the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 10, marking a significant milestone for the industry after previous rejections. Notable approvals included BlackRock’s IBIT, VanEck’s HODL, and Grayscale’s GBTC.

Hong Kong prepares to embrace spot Bitcoin ETFs

Hong Kong appears poised to follow the trend set by the United States. In December, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority jointly announced their readiness to accept applications for virtual asset spot ETFs. They also provided guidelines for the expected standards of conduct for intermediaries distributing these funds.

Key figures in the Hong Kong crypto community view the SFC’s actions as a positive step toward the introduction of spot Bitcoin ETFs. Yat Siu, the chairman of web3 investor Animoca Brands, noted that the SFC is displaying openness to expanding access to digital assets and sees a spot Bitcoin ETF as a relatively uncontroversial option.

Julia Leung, the CEO of Hong Kong’s SFC, has also expressed the regulator’s intention to assess spot Bitcoin ETFs and its willingness to consider proposals.

Additionally, Livia Wend, the Chief Operating Officer of HashKey Group, stated earlier this month that approximately ten fund firms are in the process of preparing virtual asset spot ETFs for launch in Hong Kong. As of January 10, seven or eight of them were in advanced stages of preparation.

Crypto oversight intensifies in Hong Kong

Hong Kong currently boasts several futures-based crypto ETFs, such as the Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active ETF, CSOP Bitcoin Futures ETF, and CSOP Ether Futures ETF.

Despite its willingness to embrace digital assets, Hong Kong is renowned for its stringent regulatory framework in this field.

In the wake of a significant scandal involving the crypto exchange JPEX, which purportedly impacted over 2,000 victims last year, both Hong Kong’s central bank and its securities regulator tightened cryptocurrency regulations. A newly established working group has been tasked with overseeing local trading platforms to enhance oversight and protect investors.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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