Country Heights founder to step down to focus on blockchain venture

SERI KEMBANGAN (Sept 28): Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB) founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew will be stepping down from Jan 1, 2021 to pursue his interest in the blockchain space.

With that, the planned "Horse Currency" issuance will now be undertaken through Lee’s private and charitable ventures, including his Labuan licenced Investment Bank and Golden Touch Investment Bank.  

“I am handing over the public-listed company’s business to the new directors and I will concentrate on cryptocurrencies,” Lee told a press conference after the group’s annual general meeting today.

Recently, CHHB saw several new appointments, including Datuk Jared Lim, who is Lee’s son-in-law, as the managing director.

Lee said the “Horse Currency” is likely to be launched by the end of the year.

“I received all the approvals already; my investment banks are in operation and a white paper will be issued.”

Recall that in November 2018, CHHB shareholders approved the company’s plan to issue the “Horse Currency” despite concerns over its legitimacy. This was followed by the Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) move to order all ongoing initial coin offerings to halt their activities.

Early this year, the SC set out the requirements for offerings of digital tokens to be carried out through an initial exchange offering platform operator that is registered with the commission.

While public-listed companies are not allowed to issue digital tokens directly, an unlisted subsidiary or a special purpose vehicle of a public-listed company may qualify as an issuer, according to the guidelines on digital assets.

“Instead of issuing [the cryptocurrencies], now the listed company [CHHB] will accept [the cryptocurrencies],” said Lee.

CHHB will be the first public-listed company on Bursa Malaysia to accept selected cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum for purchase of the company’s good and services.

Lee shared that CHHB will embark on a transformation plan to focus on the enabling of digital smart cities and the integrated wellness business through the adoption of blockchain and platform technologies.

“CHHB is bringing in the professionals like myself, Kevin Chen [financial director] and Ryan Xu [chief technology director] and the whole background is in technology platforms and blockchain technology. We will use this technology to link with our ecosystem and developments. Eventually, one of the currencies that can be used is this STOs [security token offerings],” said Lim.

He believes the transformation plan will bring synergies to CHHB and its technology partners, including Huawei Malaysia, Touch Point International and Collinstar Capital. A technology partnership agreement is expected to be entered into by year-end.

For the first half ended June 30, 2020, CHHB’s net loss widened to RM12.72 million from RM6.25 million in the same period last year, as all business segments — wellness hub, resorts & hospitality, Mines car city centre — were disrupted by the movement control order.

The group is expected to remain in the red for the whole of 2020, said Lee.

At 2.40pm, CHHB was trading two sen or 1.8% lower at RM1.09, with 5,700 shares done, giving it a market capitalisation of RM300.5 million.

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