China’s 9F to Become Crypto Brokerage After State Cracks Down on P2P Lending

The financial technology firm had to abandon its biggest revenue stream because China wanted to eradicate the industry.

Aug 31, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 31, 2021 at 1:37 p.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

9F Group, a Nasdaq-listed fintech firm, plans to become a blockchain-based securities and digital assets brokerage, the company said in a Monday press release.

  • The Beijing-based company wants to provide a platform for “young users around the world,” Raymond Chan, CEO of 9F’s Hong Kong subsidiary Ether Securities, said in the statement.
  • 9F also said it will set up a research and development team in Singapore to look into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) and the immersive gaming/internet experience frequently referred to as the Metaverse.
  • The company has been undergoing a leadership reshuffle in the last couple of months. Among other changes, on May 31, Director of Internal Audit and Internal Control Li Zhang replaced Lin Yanjun as CFO.
  • Last year, the overwhelming majority of 9F’s revenue came from peer-to-peer lending. In December it exited the industry, which China’s central government had condemned to eradication.
  • At the time, 9F had to pay back 340,000 lenders, Chinese media reported. 9F assigned the debt collection to a third party, AMC Entertainment Holdings, which reportedly quit the partnership just two months later. Local media reported that borrowers had set up “anti-collection” groups and were trying to get out of paying their debts.
  • The People’s Bank of China has vowed to maintain high regulatory pressure on crypto trading for the rest of the year.
  • In Hong Kong, 9F is licensed to deal and advise in securities, provide asset-management services and advise on futures contracts, it said in the press release. It also holds licenses in other southeast Asian countries and mainland China, and has applied for licenses in Singapore and the U.S., it said.
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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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