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50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2018

An Interview With Mr. Leon Li, Founder And CEO Of Huobi Group: ‘We Offer Reliable, Secure, And Easy-To-Use Trading Services Of Digital Assets’

thesiliconreview-mr-leon-li-ceo-huobi-group-2018

“We believe that the protection of investors’ rights and interests is the lifeline of our company and the entire industry.”

Blockchain is one of the underlying technologies of cryptocurrency and is drawing significant focus and investments from many financial institutions. Given the technology’s potential to both disrupt and enhance processes and systems, many firms have recently dedicated resources to understanding and integrating blockchain into their businesses.

Huobi Group is the leading blockchain company. With a mission to make finance more efficient and wealth more accessible, the company is committed to providing customers with safe, professional, and honest services based on the core principle of putting the customer first.

Huobi has become one of the world’s largest digital asset exchanges with an accumulated trading volume of US $1 trillion. The company now serves more than 5 million users in over 130 countries around the world. With offices in Singapore, North America, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and other countries and regions around the world, Huobi is able to provide safe and reliable digital asset trading and management services to its customers.

The company was incorporated in 2013 and is headquartered in Singapore.

Mr. Leon Li, Huobi Group Founder/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

I first came to know of bitcoin in 2011 and I read the white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto. Then in 2013, the price of bitcoin exploded. The curiosity drove me to try buying some on trading websites. However, they weren’t very user-friendly. So the idea came to my mind that I should try to do something in the best interest of the user, allowing them to buy digital assets quickly and easily (which was basically just bitcoin at the time). So this is also our business philosophy; ‘empower financial services and liberate global wealth’. At that time, we adopted a business strategy to make trading free, which was a more cutting-edge approach on the cryptocurrency trading market. As a result, we gained a relatively large market share. From the first day we brought Huobi online, trading was free, which allowed us to win a global share of fifty percent in bitcoin trading. Meanwhile, with the early investment of ZhenFund, Sequoia Capital and other top funds, we achieved a lot of momentum.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years?

We faced two major challenges in our early years. One was our free trading strategy was then used by several other top exchanges. The advantage of implementing our no trading fee strategy was that traders had very good experiences. On the other hand, we, as a trading platform, had less revenue, which was a challenge for us. To tackle this problem, we tried a number of things. For example, we used a wealth-management product called Caimao to close the loop and to generate more profits. The other challenge was that the bitcoin network had been attacked by hackers since its birth. Exchanges naturally became the major target for hackers as they are to this day. Huobi was and is no exception. To deal with this threat, we had a straightforward solution, which was to put security and stability of system architecture first. We still uphold this idea today. If customers suffer a loss due to our platform, we will compensate them. We are proud to say, however, that we have never had a major security incident.

Q. A company’s behavior is as important as its financial performance or the quality of its products. How do you interpret this saying?

We agree with this statement very much. And we even think that, to some extent, the company’s behavior is even more important than its financial indicators and products. Huobi follows the ‘Don’t be Evil’ principle. In this emerging and still-maturing industry, this principle has been considered as rather unique and precious. To our clients, we offer reliable, secure, and easy-to-use basic trading services. We believe that the protection of investors’ rights and interests is the lifeline of our company and the entire industry. From this point of view, Huobi’s business culture safeguards its users’ experience and the safety of their assets.

Q. Is your company a ‘leader or a follower’? Do you formulate your own core values?

At this stage, Huobi is undoubtedly a leader. At the risk of being immodest, we have positioned ourselves as the world’s leading blockchain company. Our trading volume has long been one of the top three in the world, and we now have an entire ecosystem of businesses under our umbrella, including Huobi Info, Huobi Pool, Huobi Wallet, and Huobi Global Ecosystem Fund.

Huobi’s core values developed over time and it was very much a team effort with multiple people contributing, not just myself. As for my personal role, it is probably more about inspiration and guidance. I lead people to choose the right direction, guide them to provide thoughtful services to clients, and encourage them to work hard.

Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?

This is easier said than done. We always adhere to and implement the principle of not being evil and serving and prioritizing our users, as mentioned above. We continue to expand the customer service team and help and guide investors to improve their trading and industry knowledge. We adhere to the moral bottom line and will not tolerate any conduct that harms the interests of users. We have embraced these principles for five years, and we will resolutely stick to them in the future.

From the beginning, we have positioned our brand to provide customers with convenient and secure digital asset trading services and our business range has extended beyond cryptocurrency trading. Our mining pool, wallet, ecosystem fund, etc. are great examples of this. We currently have more than a dozen business divisions, and they are all based around digital assets and blockchain technology. In addition, because we have never had a major safety incident, Huobi has maintained a rather positive and reliable image in the minds of customers. This is what we take pride in the most.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

The world of blockchain and digital assets is changing with each passing day, and I can’t predict what it will look like a month from now. But I am sure that Huobi Group will serve its users better and will further develop into a global technology-oriented company, serving digital asset investors and blockchain enthusiasts worldwide.

Mr. Leon Li: A Brief Background

Mr. Leon Li founded Huobi Group half a decade ago and has been serving as its Chief Executive Officer ever since. Mr. Li graduated from China’s Tsinghua University with a master’s degree in automation engineering.

“Exchanges naturally became the major target for hackers as they are to this day. Huobi was and is no exception. To deal with this threat, we had a straightforward solution, which was to put security and stability of system architecture first. We still uphold this idea today. If customers suffer a loss due to our platform, we will compensate them. We are proud to say, however, that we have never had a major security incident.”

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