Huobi Appears to Have Suspended Mainland China for New User Registration

The move came after China announced tougher measures on crypto trading.

AccessTimeIconSep 25, 2021 at 3:48 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:09 p.m. UTC

The option of mainland China in the country/region selection on crypto exchange Huobi’s new user registration page has disappeared following China’s announcement of tougher measure on crypto trading on Friday.

The information, first reported by Chinese crypto influencer Colin Wu, was verified by multiple people in China and by CoinDesk. Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, however, remains as an option, as does Taiwan, over which China claims dominion.

A representative from Huobi told CoinDesks the company has “no comment” on the subject.

“The regulatory pressure in China this time may be very high,” Wu said on Twitter. “The exchange began to react.”

Just a day ago, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) published a notice containing vastly stricter restrictions on crypto trading, so strict that trading would effectively be banned if enforced rigorously. According to the notice, which was co-signed by 10 agencies, anyone facilitating trades is subject to legal prosecution, including those individuals who live inside China but work for off-shore crypto exchanges that provide service to China.

Huobi is one of the most popular crypto exchanges among Chinese crypto users. The other two major exchanges used by Chinese are Binance and OKEx. Neither Binance nor OKEx require new users to specifically disclose their country/region on the initial registration page.

The Sept. 24 notice also bans banks and other financial institutions from offering services related to crypto, including transactions of fiat to crypto currencies, or from one crypto to another. The measure likely will target over-the-counter (OTC) services that allows Chinese to exchange their fiat Chinese yuan (CNY) into crypto assets in order to participate in crypto trading.

By press time, OTC service to exchange CNY for the dollar-linked stablecoin tether is still available on Huobi. However, the prices quoted in Chinese yuan on tether by OTC traders on Huobi’s peer-to-peer (P2P) market has dropped as low as 6.26 yuan.

Under normal market conditions, the price of tether expressed in Chinese yuan should match that of the U.S. dollar’s exchange rate with the Asian currency. However, the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to CNY is at around 6.46 yuan at the time of writing.

A discount of the price for the USDT/CNY suggests selling pressure on tether, a cryptocurrency used to convert fiat to crypto and back again that is popular among Chinese, has intensified.


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Muyao Shen

Muyao was a markets reporter at CoinDesk.

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