Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance is opening an office in Beijing, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CoinDesk. The new outpost will join Binance’s current mainland China office in Shanghai.
It’s not clear what exactly the office will do or when it will open, but the move follows a slew of announcements from Chinese authorities, including President Xi Jinping outlining China’s new blockchain ambitions.
A Binance spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the plan, saying:
“We plan to do more to support blockchain development in China and globally. We do not have an office in China, but are planning to grow our presence more in this important market.”
Relations between Binance leadership and Chinese authorities appear to have warmed recently, with the exchange publishing a report on China’s plans for a digital fiat currency over the summer and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stating this week on Twitter that he believes the Chinese central bank is having a positive impact on the crypto industry. This comes just one year after China’s censorship firewall blocked access to the Binance website.
These days, Binance executives have publicly stated the exchange is working with multiple governments on an upcoming stablecoin project called Venus. Binance co-founder and chief marketing officer Yi He told Bloomberg that Binance will help governments “fully supervise” the cryptocurrency industry through such projects to ensure “stable, sustainable development.”
Although Zhao grew up in Canada, he was born in China and worked at the China-based exchange OkCoin before founding his own empire. Binance made its first investment in a Chinese crypto company, Mars Finance, last September. Many of the exchange’s earlier investors hail from the Chinese tech industry, including Black Hole Capital and Funcity Capital.
Zhao added via Twitter on Tuesday that Binance currently sees a “few million dollars a day” worth of volume from Chinese users, especially via the peer-to-peer functionality that became available in China earlier this month. However, an increased focus on serving Chinese users doesn’t inherently mean the company is working with authorities on products or services beyond the Venus stablecoin project and compliance efforts.
“I don’t have anything that’s not public,” Zhao said in the Twitter video, referring to Chinese government strategies, adding:
“All of my readings are from public sources.”
UPDATE (Nov. 4, 23:00 UTC): This article was updated to include a statement from a Binance spokesperson received after publication.
Wolfie Zhao contributed reporting.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao image via CoinDesk archives