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Huobi to Take over South Korea’s largest Crypto Exchange Bithumb

Shareholders of Bithumb, South Korea’s largest crypto asset exchange, are trying to sell all of their shares, and its Chinese peer Huobi is one of the enterprises that are interested in taking it over, according to local media Bell reported.

Source said that Huobi plans to carry out crypto assets business in South Korea after the implementation of the new financial law by acquiring Bithumb, and that the exchange must obtain a real name confirmation account. Currently, there are only four crypto exchanges with real name confirmation accounts in South Korea, including Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone, and Kobit.

The globalization of Huobi is relatively slow. Most of the high-level managers of Huobi are Chinese employees. Huobi’s investment projects and ecological layout are basically limited in China, and users and revenue mainly come from China. In November 2019, Huobi announced its withdrawal from the US market, and now Japan and South Korea are the only virgin land for Huobi’s expansion. In the high-level management structure previously disclosed, Huobi Japan CEO and Huobi South Korea CEO of Huobi are among them.

Huobi was considering taking over Bitflyer, Japan’s largest crypto exchange with 2.5 million users, according to a previous report. Bithumb ranked 12th, Bitflyer 19th, and Huobi 7th in spot transaction volume, according to Coingecko.

In 2018, Huobi announced its control of BitTrade exchange, which has a legal license in Japan. In April 2020, Huobi’s native token HT was rarely approved by the financial agency of Japan. Despite the acquisition of BitTrade, the transaction volume and KYC users are very small both in Japan and South Korea, as well as the transaction volume of HT in Japan.

Although the trading activity of crypto market in Japan and South Korea is relatively high, users show a very strong “closed” feature who mainly using local exchanges. Choosing to acquire the largest existing local exchange is a reasonable move for Huobi to conduct business locally.

The move also shows that the financial situation of Huobi is good. This year, with the rapid rise of its contract derivatives and other businesses, a large number of profits can be used for acquisition. Huobi’s revenue in 2019 is about 680 million US dollars, the profit margin is expected to be 50% or higher. Due to the pump in coin price this year, the revenue of Huobi is expected to rise by more than 50%.

However, the Japanese treat cryptocurrency more conservatively, and the financial department has strict control over ICO and crypto derivatives. Despite the high sentiment of the public to speculate in cryptocurrency, South Korea’s economy volume is relatively small. South Korea also faces severe regulatory policies, it is also doubtful whether local regulators will approve a Chinese exchange’s attempt to acquire South Korea’s largest local cryptocurrency exchange.

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