TECHINASIA: Singapore-based TradeHero today announced it has partnered with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to organize the StockWhiz 2015 contest. This year’s iteration picks up from the success of last year’s contest, which according to the company drew over 15,000 people to join in. Participants this time around will be able to trade in more than 400 stocks, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and exchange traded funds (ETFs) in real-time, based on information listed on SGX.
The competition concludes on June 30, with the winner taking home S$3,000 (US$2,200) in cash. In addition, top traders will be able to keep their returns in real trading commission credits, sponsored by OCBC Securities. They will also have the chance to win S$200,000 (US$148,000) in prizes.
The StockWhiz contest furthers TradeHero’s mission of educating the public about trading. Initiatives such as DW Hero, a trading simulation game TradeHero has developed in partnership with Macquarie Securities Thailand and using derivative warrants real-time data from the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), follows the same pattern.
“In Singapore, you find that the man on the street doesn’t really understand what these [financial] products are all about, and that’s a pattern that’s probably repeated in most retail markets around the world,” Dominic Morris, TradeHero co-founder and CTO, tells Tech in Asia. “So how do we reduce these barriers to trading, so that people can learn how to invest their money through the stock market?”
TradeHero allows users to trade in a virtual stock market. But the draw is that the more savvy users, those that do consistently well in the “game”, obtain a following, which can make them real money. Users pay a fee to follow those influencers, hoping to benefit from their tips in real life. It’s an idea that has worked well for TradeHero so far. The company is in the middle of its expansion into China, where Morris describes its growth story as “explosive”.
“We’ve completely rebuilt TradeHero for the Chinese market,” Morris says. “Of course China is a very special case, [it’s] such a huge market. It’s commonly said, but really [something else] to see it first-hand and to see the level of competition and the level of retail interest in the stock market that exists in China.” Morris says the company has seen three to four million new users from China come into its service in the last six months. “That’s a very big number for us, and for most players in this space,” he points out. “So to see this kind of acquisition numbers from one single territory really paints the picture.”
TradeHero’s traction in China and the engagement it has seen with its competitions pave the way for the next big step in the company’s growth – expanding to the US and Europe, where it doesn’t yet have such a large presence and then going beyond the simulator and allowing users to trade for real. “Once you’ve learned how to trade and are familiar and comfortable with it, we would like to take our users on that journey to actually do real trading,” Morris says. “So I think there’s a lot of work for us to do, a lot of things we have yet to give our users.” How exactly the company will go about doing that is not yet clear, but it sees a lot of interest toward that goal from its partners.
For now, the competitions around Southeast Asia are a great way to engage the users and build awareness – both about TradeHero’s product and about trading in general. “I think there’s real value in our users having a bit of fun and also being able to compete [with each other],” Morris points out. Plus, the partnerships with parties like SGX, Macquarie, and Canadian broker OANDA offer access to real-time data and also real prizes for users. “The top guys, the top performers, can actually make money through this kind of partnerships,” he adds.