The poster child for mobility is On Monday, STEPN unveiled an unexpected intention to create an office in Hong Kong, breaking the trend of businesses leaving the city because of the city’s tight Covid regulations and a challenging regulatory climate.
Co-founder Jerry Huang confirmed the transfer to government-owned Cyberport, a tech hub that is home to more than 1,800 start-ups and businesses, in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Huang claimed that discussions with former Cyberport chairman George Lam about developing a web3 startup environment in Hong Kong were the driving force behind the decision.
STEPN is now situated in Adelaide, Australia
Although the corporation hasn’t yet specified a timetable for the transfer, it coincides with other financial and technology companies leaving Hong Kong for more benevolent climes.
One of them, FTX, relocated its corporate offices to The Bahamas last year. While Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO and founder of FTX, tweeted his displeasure with the stringent quarantine measures, the action was also attributed to regulatory uncertainties.
“Who would have thought two years ago that a significant consideration for where to live would be ‘it’s actually legal to enter and leave the country” he said.
Henri Arslanian, a former global crypto leader at PwC, similarly chose Dubai and the Cayman Islands as the bases for his new crypto asset management company rather than Hong Kong due to regulatory approval timelines and travel limitations. Despite having claimed that Hong Kong would have been its “natural home,” this is the case.
Businesses have expressed concern about Beijing’s sway over Hong Kong, particularly in the wake of the National Security Law’s introduction in June 2020. It is well known that Beijing has a negative attitude toward non-governmental crypto projects, and many crypto activities are still illegal in mainland China, despite the fact that many people have found workarounds.
Prior to discontinuing its GPS services in China in July, STEPN itself had a fan base there. As a result of the announcement, the price of the app’s token, GST, fell by 10%. The extent to which STEPN’s hand was forced by the authorities is unknown.
STEPN will nonetheless join the last few Hong Kong cling-ons, such as Cyberport-based Animoca Brands.
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