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Challenge to Crypto Hub Dream: Hong Kong’s Spot Crypto ETFs Experience Outflows

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After roughly two weeks of trading, Hong Kong’s debut of spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has failed to excite as expected.

Data shows a significant decrease in the total assets of six newly launched Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs in Hong Kong. This drop highlights the challenges Hong Kong faces in the competitive crypto market.

Challenges Facing Hong Kong’s Ambitions as a Crypto Hub

According to SoSo Value data, the total net assets of Hong Kong’s spot Bitcoin ETFs fell from $247.72 million on April 30 to $231.05 million on May 16. The total net assets for Ethereum ETFs also dropped from $45.03 million to $40.29 million during the same period.

BeInCrypto reported earlier that China Asset Management, Bosera HashKey, and Harvest International each listed Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs in Hong Kong on April 30. These ETFs initially drew huge optimism due to their availability in foreign currencies, including US dollars and Renminbi (RMB).

History Data of Hong Kong’s Spot Bitcoin ETFs. Source: SoSo Value

Furthermore, these products are also accessible to international investors who meet local compliance standards. Therefore, many see these ETFs as diversification for Hong Kong’s stock market offerings.

These products also provide new investment opportunities for both professional and retail investors. However, mainland Chinese investors remain restricted from accessing Hong Kong’s spot crypto ETFs.

Despite its relatively modest performance, Hong Kong’s ETFs have attracted international partnerships. Earlier this month, MetaComp, a Singapore-based fintech companies, collaborated with Bosera and Harvest Global Investment to promote these ETFs globally.

At the same time, the US spot Bitcoin ETFs have been showing better performance. SoSo Value data shows a total net inflow of $257.34 million for US spot Bitcoin ETFs as of May 16. This marks the fourth consecutive day of positive flows.

US Spot Bitcoin ETFs Daily Flows. Source: SoSo Value

Additionally, recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that institutional investors like Millennium Management and Susquehanna hold significant positions in US spot Bitcoin ETFs.

The disparity in performance highlights the vast difference in market sizes between Hong Kong and the US. A Hang Seng Investment Management report pointed out that as of August 2023, the combined ETF assets under management (AUM) in several Asia-Pacific markets, including Hong Kong, represented about 10% of the total ETF AUM in the US.

This figure suggests that while Asia-Pacific markets need to catch up to the US in scale and investor participation. However, analysts at Hang Seng Investment Management have suggested considerable potential for further expansion in the ETF market across the seven Asia Pacific markets.

ETF AUM Comparisons Between Asia-Pacific and US. Source: Hang Seng Investment Management

“The fact that the ETF’s share as a percentage of market capitalization in the seven Asia Pacific markets is relatively low suggests that there is still ample room for further expansion. It also highlights the significant growth potential of the region as index investing continues to mature,” they wrote.

This situation might challenge Hong Kong’s attempts to position itself as a global crypto hub. Compared to the performance of its US counterparts, the lukewarm reception of its crypto ETFs highlights the need for strategic adjustments. Enhanced accessibility for broader international engagement might be crucial in revitalizing Hong Kong’s crypto ETF market and achieving its global aspirations.

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