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Two Chinese stock trading apps, competitors to the popular Robinhood platform, are pivoting to crypto in an effort to join the international market. 

Futu and Tiger Brokers both disclosed news that they are seeking licenses overseas to allow local investors to trade cryptocurrencies. The companies mentioned an expansion to Singapore and the U.S. According to its website, Tiger Brokers, already has operations in Hong Kong and Australia.  

Arthur Chen, Futu’s chief financial officer, told CNBC that the company gained 100,000 paying users in Singapore within the initial three months after its launch in early March. He also mentioned a large influx of U.S.-based investors in the following quarter. Both companies each have a client base of hundreds of thousands of users. 

Aside from Robinhood, there are of course other competitors in the space for Futu and Tiger to navigate. However, these two Chinese companies plan to leapfrog the competition by implementing in-app social networking features. Users will be able to connect with one another, share trading tips and strategies, as well as engage with investment educational material. 

However, this comes as Robinhood prepares to reveal its IPO filing. It’s one of the most anticipated IPOs of the year and follows Coinbase’s monumental public offering, which hit the NASDAQ with a $90 billion evaluation. Tiger Brokers CEO Tianhua Wu told CNBC that it’s aware of the public interest in IPOs, but that the excitement over them has dulled.

Chinese crypto concerns

The international expansion of these two Robinhood rivals comes on the heels of both major fluctuations in the crypto market and conflicting crypto news out of China. One of the bigger stories from China is the intensifying crackdown on crypto activities. Despite the government’s heavy handed restrictions, Chinese investors continue to engage with OTC platforms.

This has followed the PRC’s order to all financial institutions located within the country to halt any crypto services previously available to clients. Due to the decentralized nature of many of the operations in the crypto space, this is quite a difficult task to effectively accomplish. 

Despite China’s suppression of other crypto activities, its homegrown central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a primary focus. China’s digital yuan is currently involved in use case tests in various regions of the country.

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