(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s policy shift toward creating a hub for virtual-asset businesses has generated an “overwhelming” response, the city’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui said. 

More than 80 institutions and other entities have inquired about expanding in the city, Hui said in a Bloomberg Television interview Tuesday with Yvonne Man, David Ingles and Rishaad Salamat.

“Hong Kong is one of the pioneers in the world in terms of having a holistic regulatory regime for virtual assets more broadly, rather than crypto per se,” he said, citing the payments, financial stability and investor protection elements of the crypto policy pivot.

Hong Kong in October laid out a vision of becoming a global crypto hub, seeking to lure investment and restore its status as a cutting-edge financial center. It’s stuck with the plans even as the US seeks to curb the digital-asset sector, which contributed to blowups in the nation’s banking industry.

Hong Kong plans to let retail investors trade larger tokens like Bitcoin and Ether, roll out a licensing regime for crypto exchanges on June 1 and implement rules for stablecoins by 2023-2024. Hui said that right now about 10% of the roughly 800 fintech companies in the city are virtual-asset focused.

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