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Huobi digital asset exchange closes operations in MENA

UNLOCK has been informed from sources close to Huobi MENA digital asset exchange, that it will be closing its operations in the UAE at the end of the month. Employees at Huobi’s MENA office in Dubai UAE were informed of this earlier this month.  There is speculation as to the reasons why Huobi have decided to close up shop in the UAE, which is their head office for their operations across MENA, including Turkey.

Huobi first launched their headquarters in the MENA region in 2018, and in November UNLOCK interviewed Mohit Davar Head of Huobi in MENA. At that time, he discussed their application for a license at ADGM as well as the launching of their cloud services in the region.  As Davar stated, “We believe you need to be close to your customers, and regulators. We believe regulation is good for the industry and we are licensed in UAE within DMCC (Dubai Mercantile Commodities Center) but we are also working to receive a license from ADGM and also probably one in Bahrain.” He adds, “Our current license in DMCC is an over the counter license not a fully-fledged exchange and that is why we are working with ADGM to apply so we can then be able to open accounts in banks and work as a principle broker. We are in final stages.” Huobi has also been in contact with Central Bank of Bahrain and as Davar states, “We have met with Central bank and we could be working with them.”

Huobi had also been partnering with companies in the region as it settled in. One of those partnerships was with Cashu MENA to help make crypto purchases easier.  Huobi also partnered with Fam properties in the UAE to offer crypto payment service for property buyers. Huobi was even using its head office in the UAE cater to Turkey. So does this mean Huobi will no longer be active in the Turkish market as well?

A source close to Huobi informed Unlock that Turkey’s operation would not be impacted.


Finally, earlier this year Huobi announced it would be providing liquidity to Burency exchange in the UAE. Huobi MENA had tweeted that they would be offering liquidity to Burency and Huobi’s cloud service. As stated, “Huobi offers liquidity to Burency a leading tech player in the Middle east. Huobi’s cloud service to is the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Once can only speculate as to what will become of these partnerships, and as to the reasons behind this sudden decision. Though no formal announcement has been made, it is only a matter of time before Huobi will need to make this public. 

Closing Australia, MENA and aiming for US market

Finally, as Huobi MENA shuts down, Huobi Global announced in April that it wants to re-enter the US market as soon as possible.

Lara Abdul Malak

Lara has been a journalist and writer in the technology field since her graduation from AUB majoring in political science. She has had career in corporation communications in the telecom sector and was part of the launch of first 3G network in the GCC and MENA region. Since her return to journalism she has been focused with passion on blockchain, tokenization, crypto focusing on the GCC and MENA region.

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