In a sudden turn of events, Bitget announced today the cessation of its Hong Kong operations, citing “business and market-related considerations” as the primary cause. The company expressed deep regret in a brief press release posted on their Hong Kong webpage, marking the end of their Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) venture in the region.
The cessation will take effect on December 13, 2023, as emphasized by Bitget, with the official closure of the BitgetX website (www.BitgetX.hk). Users are urged to withdraw their assets promptly, as any remaining holdings beyond the stipulated date may incur losses.
Strategic Move or Regulatory Pressure?
BitgetX was introduced in April to facilitate peer-to-peer and spot trading in Hong Kong. However, regulatory changes implemented on June 1, 2023, prompted Bitget to cease operations in the area. Users were advised to transition to BitgetX.hk by April 24, 2023, necessitating account migration and asset transfer.
The company provided a two-week window for users to withdraw crypto holdings and exit open trading positions in perpetual contracts and margin trading. Bitget assured users that all assets would be transferred to their Bitget wallets, and open positions would be closed post the November 13, 2023 deadline.
Hong Kong’s Stringent Regulatory Landscape
Bitget’s decision reflects the growing trend of international companies departing Hong Kong due to its increasingly close ties with mainland China. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) expressed concerns about unlicensed virtual asset trading platforms engaging in illicit activities, leading to a tightening regulatory environment.
The SFC’s strict regulations appear to have influenced Bitget’s choice to forgo pursuing a Hong Kong license. This announcement aligns with similar decisions in the market, as OSL, one of the first companies to obtain the Hong Kong license, also revealed halting securities trading.
In response to concerns about false information on cryptocurrency license applications and unauthorized operations, the SFC is exploring granting retail investors access to spot crypto exchange-traded funds, aiming to enhance efficiency and customer experience in the realm of cryptocurrency trading.
BitgetX’s closure signifies a confluence of market-related concerns and regulatory pressures, marking yet another departure of a major player from the Hong Kong market.