Huobi aims for US market following partner rebrand

Quick Take

  • Huobi Group, the company behind the world’s third-largest digital asset exchange, has agreed that HBUS (its US partner-firm) use the Huobi name and website to help attract local traders.
  • HBUS is a separate entity and has long emphasised that it is not a subsidiary of Huobi Group, operating independently as a US-based trading platform. 
  • Huobi Group says HBUS’ regulatory compliance will put it up against the likes of Coinbase, opening a new fiat-to-crypto gateway.
  • Chinese customers will be the next target

California-based HBUS, the partner exchange of Singapore-giant Huobi Group, rebranded last week in a bid to grow its local, US customer base. The crypto trading firm will now adopt the Huobi name and website domain, alongside a freshly designed logo.

The rebranding comes just half a year after launching the platform.

“A user experience to target the local US customers is the right thing to do,” said Frank Fu, CEO of HBUS told The Block. “The US being one of the biggest – if not the biggest – financial markets is very different in its regulatory as well as user requirements. So we made an effort to design a product for that market and for that investor base.”

HBUS is effectively Huobi Group’s sister company, offering the Group US compliance by licensing its platform and website from San Francisco. Meanwhile, Huobi Group’s flagship platform – Huobi Global, the world’s third-largest digital asset exchange – has moved to the domain

“We have to make it very clear that these two companies are separate and independent entities, especially for regulatory reasons….However, we do feel that Huobi [Group]’s liquidity platform, as well as their brand, carries a lot of weight and reputation as well as trust. Therefore, after a long negotiation with Huobi Group we both agreed to certain terms,” Fu said, which includes adopting the main URL and licensing part of its software.

Huobi Group publicly embraced the deal, with its CEO and Founder, Leon Li, announcing in a statement that the rebranding was “a step forward in Huobi Group’s plan for global expansion.”

“We feel very confident that the HBUS team will be excellent stewards of the ‘Huobi’ name as they become the top digital asset exchange in the U.S.”

Huobi Group has been eager to break into the US because of its large market share and the potential for scalability. However, the company recognized that they didn’t “quite have the resources or understanding to service this market,” causing Li to personally invest in HBUS – a fully compliant, Californian company built with local hires and local experience for US customers.

But beyond serving as a US exchange, HBUS is also targeting a global audience, with China being its next target – again leveraging the Huobi brand.

“In the next few weeks, once we complete our KYC design process for Chinese customers and audience, we will onboard Chinese subscribers and investors,” he said. “We work with a lot of institutional clients to together design product and services that could be very interesting to audiences outside of the US…And our focus is probably going to be more on the institutional side (OTC).”

Asked whether the core Huobi Global enterprise would eventually compete with its own partner in some parts of the worldFu said:

“Yes and no…I think in certain markets we will be competing with [Li’s] other organization or operation. However, I feel that we have the ability to design more interesting and creative financial products and services that could be complementary to Huobi Global’s subscribers and investors. I don’t think that we want to duplicate the efforts.”

HBUS will soon launch a fiat money trade on its US Huobi Marketplace as well as crypt-to-crypto trading of 13 digital currencies.