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Hong Kong Poised to Green-Light First Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Hong Kong authorities are desperate to improve the city’s financial attractiveness after its image suffered because of Beijing’s pandemic restrictions

A representation of cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in this illustration Photo: Reuters
A representation of cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in this illustration. Photo: Reuters


Hong Kong is on the verge of giving the go-ahead for spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds, in a move that would make it Asia’s first city to offer the popular ETFs.

Sources say authorities there have sped up the approval process and could launch the funds as soon as this month with the first approvals likely to be announced next week.

Having lost much of its shine as a global financial hub due to restrictions during the pandemic, China’s faltering economy and Sino-US tensions, Hong Kong authorities have been keen to do what they can to improve the city’s attractiveness for financial trading.


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“The significance of Hong Kong ETFs is far-reaching as it could bring in fresh global investment as well as pushing crypto adoption to a new height,” said Adrian Wang, CEO of Metalpha, a Hong Kong-based crypto wealth manager.

The US launched the first US-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to track spot bitcoin in January, drawing roughly $12 billion in net inflows, data from BitMEX Research shows.

Bitcoin has gained more than 60% this year and hit an all-time high of $73,803 in March. It was trading at around $69,000 on Wednesday.

At least four mainland Chinese and Hong Kong asset managers have submitted applications to launch the ETFs, the two sources said.

The Hong Kong units of China Asset Management, Harvest Fund Management and Bosera Asset Management are reportedly among the applicants.


Virtual Assets Approvals

China Asset Management and Harvest Fund Management’s Hong Kong units obtained approval this month to manage portfolios that invest more than 10% in virtual assets, according to the SFC’s website.

Their parent companies are among the biggest mutual fund firms in China, with each managing over 1 trillion yuan ($138 billion) in assets.

Although cryptocurrency trading is banned in mainland China, offshore Chinese financial institutions have been keen to participate in crypto asset development in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong approved its first ETFs for cryptocurrency futures in late 2022. The largest one – the CSOP Bitcoin Futures ETF – has seen its assets under management swell seven times since September to around $120 million.

Hong Kong-based Value Partners has also said it is exploring launching a spot bitcoin ETF. It has not disclosed if it has submitted an application.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Bitcoin Soars Past $72,000 as Inflow of Funds Gathers Pace

Bitcoin Comeback Sees Market Worth $1 Trillion Again

US Bitcoin ETFs Turn Over $4.6 Billion on First Day of Trading

US Approval For Bitcoin ETFs, a Game-Changer For Crypto



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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