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Subsidiary of state-backed Chinese developer applies for Hong Kong crypto license

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Greenland Financial Technology plans to apply for a virtual assets license in Hong Kong to allow it to trade crypto, carbon credits and NFTs, according to the South China Morning Post. The company is a subsidiary of China’s Greenland Group, a real estate developer that is 46% owned by the Shanghai Government.

At first glance, one might expect the objective is to tokenize real estate. However, that was not mentioned and Greenland Group is quite diversified. The Chinese company plans to set up a Hong Kong subsidiary and get approvals for its activities from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). 

Greenland Financial has already been dabbling in digital assets. In March last year, it announced a collaboration with Singapore’s Metaverse Green Exchange (MVGX) for cross border carbon credits. MVGX tokenizes carbon credits as digital assets.

The Chinese company has a subsidiary with a similar focus, the Guizhou Green Finance and Emissions Exchange (GGFEX), which launched in June last year. One of its objectives is to enable individuals to offset their carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s SFC is relaxing its stance on cryptocurrencies or virtual assets. To date, there are just two registered Hong Kong crypto exchanges, both of which qualified because they issued at least one security token and targeted institutional investors. 

In February, the SFC opened a consultation to allow access to crypto to retail investors. However, there will be limits based on wealth, investors have to show knowledge, and the proposal is to limit the crypto-assets to those included in high profile indices. The plan is for new rules to take effect in June.

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