Crypto-exchange firm Binance makes its first Chinese investment

Photo from Binance's Facebook page.

Crypto-exchange behemoth Binance Holdings Ltd. has made its first strategic Chinese investment, joining a funding round that valued crypto-data website Mars Finance at about $200 million.

Investors in the round also included Ceyuan Ventures and Matrixport, the financial services startup created by Bitmain Technologies Ltd. co-founder Wu Jihan, Mars Finance said in a statement.

The funding is Binance’s first strategic investment in China, a market it withdrew from in 2017 after Beijing banned digital coin trading. Founder “CZ” Zhao Changpeng said in the statement that Mars Finance has rapidly expanded its influence since inception.

Beijing-based Mars Finance was founded by local entrepreneur Wang Feng in 2018, one of several dozen nascent Chinese-language crypto news services similar to CoinDesk. It previously completed two funding rounds with backers including IDG Capital and the venture arms of exchange operators OKCoin and Huobi. The startup also runs its own venture fund called Consensus Lab, which has invested in Hong Kong-based Coinsuper.

Prior to Mars Finance, Wang co-founded Linekong Interactive Group Co. in 2007, a mobile game developer and publisher that went public in Hong Kong in 2014.