Chinese bitcoin mining giant sets up Swiss subsidiary

ZURICH (Reuters) - Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies is expanding to Switzerland in a move that will be key to widening its reach, the group told a Swiss newspaper.

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (top L) at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Bitmain Switzerland was registered in Zug, Switzerland in late December according to commercial registry filings accessed on Wednesday.

Experts say China is one of the world’s biggest sources of bitcoin mining, where miners solve complex mathematical puzzles with computers in order to be awarded virtual coins.

But a government clampdown on electricity-intensive cryptocurrency mining could soon see that activity move elsewhere.

“Bitmain Switzerland will play a central role during our global expansion,” a spokesman for the Beijing-based group told Swiss paper Handelszeitung. The paper first reported the group’s expansion to Switzerland on Wednesday.

Bitmain Technologies was not immediately available for comment nearing midnight Beijing time.

Founded in Beijing in 2013, Bitmain is a leading bitcoin miner which also makes chips and computer hardware for mining.

Besides Beijing it currently has offices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Qingdao, Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenzhen, according to its website.

Zug, a small canton in the middle of Switzerland, has become known as the Swiss “Crypto Valley” due to the proliferation of cryptocurrency groups setting up shop there.

The Swiss company, Bitmain Switzerland, was registered to directors Jihan Wu, the name of Bitmain Technologies’ co-founder, as well as a Chinese national by the name of Ti Liu residing in Birrwil, Switzerland and a Swiss national, Christian Johannes Meisser, residing in Klosters-Serneus.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Adrian Croft