Webull prepares to enter Korean market

A promotional image for Webull  is visible at the Times Square, New York, in this May 2023 photo. Screenshot from Webull's official Facebook

A promotional image for Webull is visible at the Times Square, New York, in this May 2023 photo. Screenshot from Webull’s official Facebook

By Lee Yeon-woo

Webull, a prominent securities trading platform representing U.S. stocks, is preparing to enter the Korean market.

According to sources, Tuesday, Webull is in preliminary consultations with financial authorities to secure the necessary domestic license for it to enter the market here.

“Webull has yet to formally apply,” an official from the Financial Supervisory Service explained. “We are currently in the phase of providing guidance on domestic regulations and approval requirements.”

If Webull receives authorization, it will become the first foreign entity to directly enter the domestic retail sector targeting individual investors.

Webull was first established in 2017 by Wang Anquan, a former executive at Alibaba Group Holding. In 2022, as part of its efforts to enter the Korean market, Webull established an overseas entity in Korea. This move was part of its expansion into the global market, which includes Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.

Financial regulators are reportedly positive about Webull’s potential entry into the market. This positive outlook is based on its recognition as a leading force in mobile trading systems in the U.S. The regulators expect that Webull’s entry will invigorate competition within the local securities sector.

The securities industry is closely monitoring whether Webull, known for its convenience, low fees and high-quality analytical tools, will maintain these strengths when it enters the domestic market.

The platform’s familiarity among domestic investors also represents a significant advantage. While they have not been able to directly trade U.S. stocks through Webull, many have used the app to access real-time information before executing trades on local platforms. For investors interested in international stocks, Webull presents an attractive option with few reasons to look elsewhere.

However, there is also cautious anticipation that its impact on the domestic market may not be as significant as initially expected.

The interest of domestic investors in Webull reached its peak during a surge in overseas stock trading from 2020 to 2021. Since then, domestic brokerage firms have significantly enhanced their offerings with a range of diverse services, thereby effectively attracting retail investors.

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