Chinese Broker Futu to Launch Crypto Trading for International Clients

The investment startup is planning to launch the new services in the second half of 2021.

Futu Holdings, a Chinese online brokerage platform with 14 million global users, is preparing to launch crypto trading services in international markets in the second half of 2021.

Robin Li Xu, Futu’s Senior Vice President, revealed in the Tencent-backed company’s Q1 earnings call that it has already started to apply for licenses required for digital currency services in the United States, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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However, Xu did not elaborate on the exact nature of these licenses or the services the company is planning to offer.

In addition, the company clarified that no services related to cryptocurrency will be launched in its native Chinese markets. “What we know for sure is that we will not offer digital currency trading services to mainland China users,” Xu said.

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The clarification came with the latest reiteration of the Chinese government along with the country’s banking and internet association about the illegal nature of cryptocurrency transactions. Though China already banned crypto-related services in 2017, these fresh announcements had likely triggered the crypto crash earlier this week.

A Fast-Growing Chinese Investment Startup

Futu, which is seen by many as the Chinese version of Robinhood, is aggressively growing. With a year-over-year jump of 349.4 percent in Q1 of 2021 at $283.6 million, the company registered the fifth straight quarter of triple-digit growth.

It added 273,000 net paying clients in the first three months of 2021 when the trading volume soared to $289 billion. 70 percent of Futu’s fresh clients were added from Hong Kong, Singapore and other overseas markets, which also strengthened its decision to add cryptos.

Moreover, the Chinese startup opened its regional headquarters in Singapore and rolled out a Gen-Z-focused investment platform.

“We are encouraged by what we have achieved in Singapore so far and are confident that Singapore and the broader Southeast Asian market offers a huge runway for growth,” said Leaf Hua Li, Futu’s Founder, Chairman and CEO.

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