Binance is not a Chinese company, CEO Changpeng Zhao insists

The Binance CEO left China when he was 12, after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests

Founder and CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao, attends the                                 
Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance has firmly stated that Binance is not a Chinese company - Photo: Getty Images
                                

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume has firmly stated that Binance is not a Chinese company.

Via a blog post, the crypto exchange’s CEO said: “Binance was never incorporated in China. We don’t have any legal entities in China, and we do not have plans to.”

Additionally, the company does not operate like a “Chinese company culturally”, Zhao said, adding: “I believe it’s critical today that we come forward with these facts.”

It would be impossible for Binance to be a Chinese company at present, he said, as Binance and every other crypto exchange “have been designated a criminal entity in China.”

Zhao said: “The inference is that because we have ethnically Chinese employees, and perhaps because I am ethnically Chinese, we are secretly in the pocket of the Chinese government. We are an easy target for special interests, media, and even policymakers that hate our industry. This is obviously not true.”

Left China at 12

When Zhao was 12, he and his entire family left China, two months after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Although it usually takes seven years to obtain a passport and a Canadian visa, the Canadian embassy fast-tracked visas at that time.   

Zhao then grew up in Vancouver and went to McGill University in Montreal. He said: “I am a Canadian citizen, period.”

He returned to China in 2005 to launch an IT start-up together with five other expats.

Between 2005 and 2015, Zhao tried to set up several different start-up projects before entering the crypto space. Two years before setting up Binance, he started a company called Bijie Tech, which provided exchange-as-a-service platforms to other exchanges.

Then in 2017, China shut down all exchanges, and Bijie Tech shut down as well. However, Zhao took a few people from Bijie Tech to set up Binance on 14 July 2017. In September 2017, the Chinese government issued a ruling stating that crypto exchanges were not allowed to operate in China.

The Binance CEO said he saw the irony in being “forced to leave China” once again, 30 years after leaving the country with his family in 1989.  After the Chinese government ruling, the Binance leadership team decided to work remotely.

Guangying Chen

Zhao also discussed the role Guangying Chen played in the history of Binance, saying that a week ago a former Washington Post journalist asked a Binance executive who Chen was.

The Binance CEO said that in 2015, he asked Chen to manage the back office of Bijie Tech. Zhao asked her, as she was a Chinese national, to be the listed legal representative, and she agreed.   

As Chen’s name is on early Bijie Tech documents, Zhao said: “Binance’s detractors have leaped at the opportunity to spread a conspiracy theory that Guangying was secretly the owner of Bijie Tech and possibly even Binance.”

Because of  this Chen “has been targeted and harassed by the media and online trolls,” Zhao said. Now Chen is a passport holder in a European country “where she lives in relative peace with her family.”

Chen ”does not own Binance and she is not some secret Chinese government agent,”  Zhao added.

Further reading

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