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Tencent-Backed Futu Taps Singapore's Retail Trading Boom: Bloomberg

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Chinese online broker Futu Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ: FUTU) set up a base in Singapore to tap the retail investor trading boom in Southeast Asia, Bloomberg reports.

  • The Tencent Holdings Ltd (OTC: TCEHY)-backed company started an office in the city-state last week to further its geographical footprint in Malaysia and Thailand along with the U.S. 
  • Futu launched its zero-commission, retail-focused trading app and reportedly had over 13 million global users.
  • Growing remote working facilitated trading in Singapore, driving the brokerage revenue.
  • Online brokers like Futu have been dubbed as Chinese Robinhood, gaining from the pandemic-induced retail obsession. 
  • The low commission trading apps offered solace to the jaded, home-ridden individuals to even challenge institutional investors. 
  • Futu’s shares have more than tripled this year after climbing 343% in 2020, intensifying founder Leaf Hua Li’s wealth.
  • The company picked Singapore as its Southeast Asian headquarters due to its support for the technology sector and the high smartphone acceptance rate.
  • Singapore has at least ten local brokers for retail traders and behemoths like Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ: IBKR) and TD Ameritrade regardless of some consolidation, including the Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE: SCHW) departure.
  • Futu expected 700,000 new paying clients for its online brokerage business in 2021, targeting a 135% growth, with Singapore and the U.S. accounting for 20%. Most of its revenues came from Hong Kong and mainland China users.
  • Price action: FUTU shares traded lower by 0.89% at $140.95 in the premarket session on the last check Wednesday.
 

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