The allure of blockchain technology as the next big opportunity has prompted a string of Chinese executives at internet-based companies and traditional finance firms to jump ship.
In the latest such move, Wu Shupeng, a former security consultant at car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, has joined digital currency exchange Huobi.
Taking up the post on Tuesday, Wu leads a team that oversees security and risk management, the Singapore-based company announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“Wu is a seasoned security specialist with an excellent reputation,” said a Huobi spokesman. “His joining will strengthen the team and lift our risk management capabilities in digital asset trading.”
With entrepreneurial fever sweeping the nation and the backing of affluent venture capital funds, China has seen the sharing economy take off over the past two years. However, the flood of money has begun to cool since the second half of last year.
Blockchain technology, on the other hand, saw its first official mention in China in 2016, when it was written into the 13th Five-Year Plan, a road map for China’s development in the five years from 2016 to 2020. Blockchain was depicted as one of the major tasks and projects for the nation, along with quantum communication, AI, and autonomous driving, according to the People’s Daily.
The career change comes one month after Yuan Yuming, deputy research head and chief internet analyst of Industrial Securities, joined Huobi as director of its blockchain application academy.
The company’s chief strategy officer, Cai Kailong, joined from Deutsche Bank in January.
Bitcoin prices have been on a roller coaster since October when China banned domestic digital exchanges from hosting renminbi-denominated cryptocurrency trading. The regulatory move was prompted by concerns over financial stability and social instability, according to the People’s Bank of China.
While bitcoin can still be traded via the country’s peer-to-peer platforms and non-renminbi exchanges, some operators are explore setting up platforms overseas.
In March, Huobi announced it would open a new office in the US to attract American investors, extending its overseas reach after relocating part of its business to South Korea and Japan as a result of the PBOC ban. Other platforms such as OkCoin and ZB.com opened international operations around the same time.
However, the trading ban has not slowed down the development of blockchain – the technology behind cryptocurrencies. Among Chinese start-ups that received financing in the first quarter, 41 per cent were blockchain-related, according to a report by information service provider ITJUZI.
“Capital has shown tremendous interest in blockchain projects,” the report said.