Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd – the biggest property owner in Hong Kong – has signed a lease with a crypto asset firm for the first time.
Hong Kong-based HashKey Group will take up a floor in Three Exchange Square.
Neil Anderson, director and head of commercial property at Hongkong Land said the SFC’s recent decision to regulate digital asset exchanges in Hong Kong gives the company “confidence that this new asset class has a regulatory framework, and therefore a future within the finance industry”.
He added: “Until recently, few of these firms had the scale to move into a prime central location but that is changing now and we are seeing an increase in inquiries from companies in the fintech space.”
Centre of the business community
The move also means a significant boost for HashKey, which is currently based in the Cyberport start-up business park. The company also has operations in Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai.
Michel Lee, executive president at HashKey, stated that “Three Exchange Square is one of the most prestigious office buildings in Hong Kong” and added the company was glad to be moving to the centre of the business community.
One of the most expensive Hong Kong office districts, Central has been known as the “major boss” when talking about traditional financial institutions from overseas and mainland China.
However, demand from foreign banks plummeted after many companies adopted “work from home” policies.
Big banks such as BNP Paribas SA and Standard Chartered Plc enabled their workers to work from home as the Covid-19 situation got worse and they have been reducing their office space in the finance district over the past year.
According to data from commercial real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, the vacancy rate in Central rose to 9.6% at the end of July from 5.7% a year ago.
As of June, the banking sector, as well as asset management companies, aggregated approximately 42% of Hongkong Land’s office tenant profile by area.
Hongkong Land is somewhat late in accepting crypto companies to its portfolio. The property developer CK Asset Holdings Ltd signed trading platform BitMEX in Central’s Cheung Kong Center back in 2018.
A spokesman of 100X Group, the ultimate owner of BitMEX, then said the company had plans to grow from a crypto-derivatives exchange platform by expanding its business lines to include spot, brokerage, custody, and other capabilities in certain markets in the future.
The real estate company said it expected to see more virtual asset companies and would widen its operations in the finance district.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.