Huobi crypto exchange wins licenses in Dubai and New Zealand as Thai affiliate closes

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Major cryptocurrency trading platform Huobi continues expanding its global presence by securing new licenses in New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

On Friday, Huobi Group obtained the Innovation License under the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), securing the company’s first-ever license there.

The DIFC license is not a trading license but rather authorizes Huobi to incentivize technology startups to set up operations in Dubai, Huobi Group chief financial officer Lily Zhang told Cointelegraph on Monday. The license unlocks a number of benefits like access to the local tech ecosystem and preferential treatment for technology research and developments, capital flows and taxes.

Huobi also plans to receive a Virtual Asset MVP License from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), allowing the company to offer a full range of cryptocurrency exchange products and services, Zhang noted, stating:

“We do not have other licenses in Dubai. We do have a small office there that caters to some key account and institutional customers in the Middle East region. We are, however, applying for provisional approval for a Virtual Asset MVP License from the Dubai VARA.”

Apart from pushing its presence in the UAE, Huobi has also received registration on New Zealand’s Financial Services Provider Register (FSPR) to offer its crypto trading services in the country.

The FSPR registration is Huobi Group’s first step toward expanding its cryptocurrency trading business in New Zealand, as all exchanges are required to register on the platform to offer trading services to local users.

The registration allows Huobi’s local entity, HBGL New Zealand Limited, to operate a regulated foreign currency exchange and money or value transfer services in New Zealand. The registration also allows Huobi to provide asset management services and over-the-counter trading.

“In New Zealand, cryptocurrencies themselves are not considered legal tender, but regulators treat cryptocurrency exchanges, brokers and other businesses offering investment opportunities much like they do other financial services providers,” Zhang said in a statement to Cointelegraph.

Related: Crypto.com gets nod in Dubai and FTX launches in Japan

Huobi’s latest regulatory milestones come shortly after the firm’s Thailand-based affiliate firm, Huobi Thailand, announced it was permanently closing in mid-June after the Thai Securities and Exchanges Commission revoked the firm’s operating license. The local firm plans to wind down operations by July 1.

“We would like to reiterate that Huobi Thailand was not a part of Huobi Global, but rather a separate entity formed together with a local partner in 2019 as a part of our Huobi Cloud division,” a spokesperson for Huobi told Cointelegraph. The representative declined to provide exact figures for Huobi Thailand’s trading volumes, only stating that it was a “relatively small and insignificant part” of Huobi’s business as a whole.

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