Tiger Brokers, Futu plan to launch cryptocurrency trading services outside China, taking on Robinhood, eToro
- Beijing-based Tiger Brokers and Shenzhen-based Futu have unveiled plans to expand into digital currency trading
- Targeting only offshore clients, the move has come amid Beijing’s renewed crackdown on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
The Nasdaq-listed brokers have unveiled their new business plans during first-quarter earnings calls in the past month, competing and segregating for a growing pool of young and mobile traders outside mainland China.
Beijing’s war on cryptocurrency trading and mining has sent bitcoin plunging 40 per cent over the past month. The management teams at both Futu and Tiger Brokers were quick to point out that the new bitcoin trading services would only target customers that are not based in mainland China.
“We notice cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have become more acceptable by mainstream investors since last year and are emerging as an asset class. Tiger’s mission is to make investing more efficient and enjoyable for investors,” said Wu Tianhua, chief executive of Tiger Brokers, during the call held last Tuesday.
Tiger Brokers reported first-quarter net profit of US$21.1 million, compared to a net loss of about US$200,000 during the same period a year ago. It offers trading services for stocks listed on the US, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore stock exchanges. It has 376,000 customers with deposits ready to trade.
“We’re in the process of applying for digital currency-related licences in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong,” said Robin Li Xu, senior vice-president, during Futu’s earning conference call held on May 19.
With 790,000 paying customers, its first-quarter net profit rose by more than six times year-on-year to US$149.5 million. In recent years Futu has been focusing on diversifying its business from just stock trading and initial public offerings.
It has won a licence from the regulator of Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund to sell and market retirement schemes to its customers.