Category Archives: Hong Kong Stock Exchange

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Bitmain CEOs to Make Way for New Faces

Crypto Mining Rig Giant Bitmain May Appoint New CEO Soon

Top cryptocurrency mining rig maker Bitmain may be in for some administrative changes soon, with Wang Haichao, currently head of product engineering, tipped to be the new CEO in place of co-CEOs Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan, as reported by South China Morning Post.

Currently, no public announcement has been made by the company or any of the parties involved about this major managerial shift. However, the source said people familiar with the matter revealed that this change will reportedly have co-founders Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan step aside from managing daily affairs of the company. More so, while they remain as members of the board, they will still be involved in calling the shots on big decisions as “Wu and Zhan, who founded Bitmain in 2013, hold 21% and 37% of the company respectively, according to the IPO prospectus”. Wang is said to have assumed the new role in preparation for the transition since December last year.

Changes happening in the company, including the layoff of about 50% of its staff that occurred last month, are likely due to the bear market conditions that lasted throughout 2018. More so, it was reported that the incumbent decision makers had trouble agreeing with each other and that at one time, Wu was allegedly expelled from the board, though this was later dismissed as a false claim.

With the ongoing reshuffling of administrative chairs, operations may look green for the company once more, as currently, Bitmain has been through a few setbacks and may need to make some strategic changes to make headways in 2019. It is in the process of being listed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), though it hasn’t been favorable so far, probably due to the volatile conditions of the cryptocurrency market and “essentially the lack of regulation”, according to HKEX.

Wang has compelling hands-on experience in software programming and product engineering. Having graduated from Beijing’s Tsinghua University – the MIT analog in China – he worked as an engineer with Availink, from 2010 to 2017. He seems to be an excellent candidate, being familiar with the operations of the company with respect to product management. It would be of public interest to both shareholders and consumers to see what changes the company will experience during Wang’s tenure. BitcoinNews will track the changes as they unfold.

 

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Bitmain Under Pressure to Cut 50% of Staff in 2019

mining, cryptocurrency

Bitmain, the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining chips is reported to be laying off up to 50 percent of its staff in 2019.

Suggestions that layoffs may be a possibility in the new year first appeared on Maimai — China’s version of LinkedIn — before Christmas where one verified Bitmain employee wrote, “It’s affirmative. The layoff will start next week and involves more than 50 percent of the entire Bitmain’s headcount.”

The mining chip giant as of 2018 had 11 mining farms operating in China but was forced to lay off 3000 of its staff in December having grown from 1000 employees. A spokesman for the company has not confirmed the exact number of layoffs suggested, but commented:

“There has been some adjustment to our staff this year as we continue to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business. A part of that is having to really focus on things that are core to that mission and not things that are auxiliary.”

Any layoffs are thought to be aimed at new projects such as AI and blockchain, but there is a suggestion that all areas of the company will be impacted. Earlier this month Bitmain closes its Israeli operation which included a lay off of 23 employees there. This was reported to have been a direct response to a downturn in the cryptocurrency markets.

Bitmain’s proposed IPO float on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with an $18 billion valuation is now in question according to some observers.

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Hong Kong Stock Exchange Looks to Blockchain and Fintech Acquisitions

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has announced that it is considering investments in blockchain and other fintech companies through acquisitions next year.

If this materializes, it will represent a change in direction for the exchange which has close relationships with China. Hong Kong, being an autonomous territory of China, has a political system independent from the rest of the country, affecting both the economy and its commercial system. Many Chinese businesses have moved their operations to Hong Kong after China’s crackdown on ICOs and cryptocurrency in general. These included the world’s largest exchange, Binance, which moved from Beijing to Hong Kong and other locations around the globe to escape punitive legislation.

The territory is now laying claim to becoming a major hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain in the region, even creating a recent “talent list” to employ more industry professionals to support its DLT focus in the years to come through a new employment program. A fintech lead at InvestHK reflected on Hong Kong’s push towards blockchain:

“Blockchain is a very high priority for us. There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases. But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.”

Unconfirmed sources suggest that Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, is now looking at blockchain and has had meetings with both potential start-ups and established companies. Concern remains about the current poor relationship between China and the US, and how this might affect businesses in Hong Kong. This is a possible reason why the exchange is considering adopting its own venture capital model similar to that of Nasdaq.

Earlier this month, HKEX senior managers had discussed possible acquisitions and more, the results of which will be revealed next year. Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment, told Bloomberg, “The strategy is in the right direction but it is not easy to achieve the targets. HKEX needs to maintain a momentum of growth by exploring new businesses.”

In March, Financial Times reported that HKEX was collaborating with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to implement blockchain. Perhaps, this is an indication of the direction the exchange is willing to take when it reveals its plans next year. Blockchain company acquisitions may be on the table.

 

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