When a prefecture in northwestern China's Xinjiang region ordered a halt on cryptocurrency mining projects this month, Chris Zhu scrambled to move clients' machines southward, spending over a week to reassemble in Sichuan.
But after the shift, he received another notice -- authorities in southwestern Sichuan were also putting a stop to the industry, in a turbulent year that has lost his company millions.
"We're thinking of ways to go abroad," said Zhu, whose company handles the maintenance of mining machines.
He is among businessmen and miners now planning to seek their fortunes overseas -- in countries ranging from the United States to Kazakhstan -- as Beijing tightens the screws on the industry.
Crypto-mining is the process by which computers generate a series of complicated hexadecimal number sequences needed to mint new virtual currency and validate financial transactions -- a task that requires massive amounts of processing power.