Ceza adds new HK locator to ‘Crypto Valley of Asia’

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) has formally welcomed on Friday, October 26, Hong Kong-based Asia Premier International Limited (APIL) as one of the 17 offshore fintech firm locators of Ceza at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

Ceza administrator Raul L. Lambino (3rd from the right) hands over to Alexander Fu Kong San (3rd from the left), chairman and CEO of Asia Premier International Ltd. (APIL), its financial technology services and offshore virtual currency exchange (FTSOVCE) provisional principal license. Photo credit: Joseph Muego

The ceremonial awarding of the financial technology services and offshore virtual currency exchange (FTSOVCE) provisional principal license to APIL by Ceza was held during the APIL NiuEx Exchange Launching attended by foreign and local blockchain and cryptocurrency leaders and enthusiasts, government officials and other guests.

The license was awarded by Ceza administrator Raul L. Lambino to Alexander Fu Kong Sang, chairman and CEO of APIL.

“Today, we are formally welcoming Asia Premier International Limited as a member of the Crypto Valley of Asia, Ceza’s premier hub for the development of digital token exchanges and blockchain based technologies,” Lambino said.

Amando V. Jimenez, chief operating officer (COO) of APIL, during a speech he delivered on the same occasion, cited Lambino whom he referred to as “our mentor.”

He narrated the journey of the APIL on how it led to becoming a Ceza locator.

“It certainly was not easy getting a license to operate an Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange. We had to go through very rigorous pre-screening requirements and probity check. The voluminous pages we needed to submit reached from floor to ceiling,” said Jimenez.

“But it was all worth it, as we were granted the license we needed. We are the seventh OVCE/Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange principal license holder in the Philippines,” he added.

Jimenez said the license from Ceza enables APIL to run its blockchain operations in the Philippines although his company will only be serving overseas markets.

Among other APIL executives present included Vice Chairman Cao Shao Xiong, Fu Yanyl, Alvin Young, and their Niu Exchange partners Engle Ke.

Last month, Lambino said Filipinos will not be allowed to engage in participate in the cryptocurrency operations of the Ceza offshore fintech locators.

Jimenez said APIL’s OVCE license will “allow its partners in the global blockchain industry, NiuEx Exchange to undertake crypto to crypto transactions. We look forward to a bullish market and a successful partnership with all our participants.”

Lambino said that, as of July this year, 70 fintech locators applied with Ceza to become pioneers of the country’s fintech industry that Ceza decided to build.

“Of that number, we have issued 17 Provisional Principal Licenses to companies that would spearhead the disruption of financial processes. Asia Premier International Limited is one of them and today we witness the launch of their digital token trading platform: ‘NiuEx’ Exchange,” he added.

Lambino said the fintech enterprises ecosystem addessess the call of a financial revolution which, he said, started at the creation of the mobile phone and the Internet. As a result he said, the access, connectivity, and mobility that people enjoy in the digital age “pushed as to challenge the very definition of money and payments.”

He emphasized that “the potential of these financial technologies to enhance transfer and verification processes — and how trust in the financial industry is being shifted to the digital space — has captured the attention of governments, financial institutions and regulators.”

On the other hand, he noted that this development has put countries on different reactions; some of them taking a close look on how to regulate the growing number of platforms while others have shut their doors and eliminated any avenue for regulations. The Philippines, however, “is in full support of this inevitable financial revolution.”

“We, at Ceza, have decided that we cannot wait to embrace the disruption and leap into the future of money, market, services and infrastructure,” the Ceza head said.

He disclosed that Ceza is now offering, not only the Asia Pacific Region but the world, a safe haven for fintech innovations to cultivate and grow.”

He credited Ceza’s powerful charter, the source of the mandate at going after new investment opportunities, saying it (charter) placed the Authority in a unique position to create “Crypto Valley of Asia” for fintech enterprises to legitimize their operations and properly register their initiatives.

Ceza manages the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP), which will provide a safe haven for the blockchain and cryptocurrency companies.

Lambino takes pride in Ceza’s being the Philippines’ “only economic zone” clothed with the authority to regulate, license and propagate offshore fintech solutions enterprises as well as offshore digital token exchanges.”

The Ceza chief noted how fintech startups from across the world “are scrambling to find a regulator sandbox on which they could safely develop and test out their technologies and to service different industries to make financial processes faster, safer, and cheaper.”

Ceza is providing such space to cultivate initiatives that would push for financial inclusion and greater access to cutting-edge technologies.

He recalled that in just a matter of six months since Ceza launched the concept of its fintech haven, “one can already sense the strategic shift of focus to Cagayan Valley and more so to that port town of Sta. Ana.

Meanwhile, Lambino revealed plans for the creation of a Code of Conduct for the crypto company locators — Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) — at Ceza, saying it is necessary as part of a broader strategy that will surely improve the effectiveness of regulation and market strategy.

“SROs, being comprised of members engaged in the industry, are able to provide key insights, critical research and updates on national and international business standards that Ceza will utilize to effectively and efficiently regulate the industries and licensees under its jurisdiction,” he said.

In relation with this, Ceza Deputy Administrator Raymundo T. Roquero said the plan to establish a Blockchain University inside Ceza will be pushed through, saying this is really important in order to produce blockchain programmers, coders, designers, among others, as demand for these kinds of jobs are expected to grow in the near future.

“In closing, let me say that in our book, the future has arrived, and the valley in northern Philippines is where it is found,” Lambino said.

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