The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has given the initial approval to a first batch of firms to launch spot bitcoin and ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

China Asset Management, Bosera Capital, HashKey Capita and Harvest Global all disclosed that they had received in-principle approval from the markets regulator late on Monday afternoon Hong Kong time. 

China Asset Management has partnered with OSL Digital Securities and BOC International Prudential Trusteeship to provide infrastructure and custody services for the firm’s proposed spot crypto ETFs. 

Last week, a Matrixport report seen by CoinDesk suggested that the approval of a Hong Kong-listed Bitcoin Spot ETF could attract “billions of dollars of capital” from investors in mainland China.

The report’s authors said their assumptions were rooted in the fact that these investors would capitalize on the Southbound Connect program, which allows mainland Chinese investors to acquire up to HK$540 billion worth of Chinese stocks per year.

However, Chinese blockchain reporter Colin Wu later said that Hong Kong bitcoin ETF issuers he had spoken to had clarified that their spot crypto ETFs would definitely be off limits to investors from mainland China, which still has a blanket ban on the trading and ownership of digital assets.

Spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. have seen an overwhelming response since their launch in January – the funds (barring Grayscale’s GBTC) boast a cumulative $53.3 billion in assets under management (AUM).