The year 2017 was great for many tech firms in China. Tencent briefly outdid Facebook in market valuation reaching a $500 billion valuation mark. Toutiao shot up from obscurity on the international scene with its parent Bytedance buying Musical.ly. Alibaba spread its wings further into Asia, Didi started its global expansion, Huawei overtook Apple as the second largest smartphone seller.
Bike rental hit China 2017 with a bang. Suddenly, China’s entire urban population became hipster overnight with colorful gearless bicycles becoming a popular mode of transportation. But the autumn saw the death of many bike rental companies, including Bluegogo.
Chinese regulators have watched bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies explode in the country with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for emails from Nigerian princes. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) started cracking down on cryptocurrency as early as January 2017 when it started investigations into China’s three largest exchanges: OKCoin, Huobi, and BTCC. This continued in February when the exchanges were forced to freeze bitcoin withdrawal for four months.
The future of cryptocurrencies in China is not completely bleak, however. Cryptocurrency trade has earned a reputation of an element of instability and a tool for siphoning off money out of the country but the PBOC it also recognizes its potential. The central bank has already tested its own digital notes exchange platform while blockchain has become a fixture in the government’s development plans.
OKCoin, Huobi, and BTCC have moved trading to their international divisions with Huobi announcing it will expand its cryptocurrency exchange business with the help of Japanese financial institution SBI Group. BTCC’s CEO and co-founder Bobby Lee has recently stated that it’s only a matter of time before China lifts its crypto exchange ban. Maybe not such a bad year after all?