(Bloomberg) -- Digital-asset exchange Huobi plans to expand its operations in Hong Kong, betting the city’s pro-crypto pivot presages an easing of the ban on virtual coins in mainland China and hence smoother access to users there.

Hong Kong is seen as “as one of the experiment zones for crypto development in China,” Justin Sun, an adviser at Huobi who sets strategy for the firm, told Bloomberg TV in an interview on Friday. That’s “one of our biggest reasons to expand in Hong Kong,” he said.

He added Huobi’s key regions for business are Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Caribbean. Sun last year spent about $1 billion to purchase a roughly 60% stake in Huobi, Bloomberg News reported in November.

Hong Kong last quarter shifted policy by saying it wants to become a digital-asset hub, contrasting with tightening rules in Singapore in the wake of a crypto rout and blowups like the collapse of the FTX exchange. 

  • Read more: Hong Kong Seeks to Revive Crypto Sector Roiled by FTX Crisis

While the change in Hong Kong is happening under Beijing’s watchful gaze, the notion that China could loosen its more than one-year-old proscription of most things crypto remains highly contentious.

Sun, who is also the founder of Tron blockchain, said further steps will be taken to ensure Tron’s stablecoin USDD stays close to its US dollar peg after it steered lower following the TerraUSD stablecoin crisis in May and again during the FTX implosion late last year.

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