Robinhood's Unexpected New Rival
Bloomberg Businessweek|December 14, 2020
Webull, owned by a Chinese company, is breaking into the crowded zero-fee brokerage business in the U.S.
Pat Regnier

Even in a year full of surprises on Wall Street, this one stands out: A Chinese-owned brokerage has quietly built one of the fastest-growing retail trading platforms in the U.S.

Webull, founded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. alum Wang Anquan, has increased its roster of brokerage clients about tenfold this year, to more than 2 million, by offering free stock trades with a slick online interface. Although that’s still a fraction of the more than 13 million at Robinhood Markets Inc., the broker that popularized commission-free trading, Webull says it’s been peeling off users from its rival.

Webull’s breakneck U.S. expansion is almost unheard of for a Chinese-owned financial company, particularly at a time when relations between the two countries have sunk to their lowest point in decades. The superpower clash that began with trade has recently moved into the financial realm, with the outgoing Trump administration mulling restrictions on Chinese payment platforms and pushing for rules that threaten to kick Chinese companies offU.S. exchanges.

While Webull’s ownership has attracted some attention in online forums, the firm goes out of its way to emphasize its U.S. links. It stores user data locally, is subject to the same regulations as any other U.S. brokerage, and has an office right next to 40 Wall Street, a Trump building. It also voluntarily sought a review of its ownership by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (Cfius), a panel that has blocked U.S. expansion plans by some Chinese-owned companies on national security grounds, says Webull Chief Executive Officer Anthony Denier, an American. Cfius gathered information from Webull but decided in December that it wouldn’t conduct a review, Denier says. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, whose secretary chairs Cfius, says it doesn’t comment on cases before the committee, including whether a company has filed for review.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

The New Fighter At the CFPB

Rohit Chopra wants to know more about tech companies’ plans for financial products

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

Next on Your Plate: Bug Burgers

The faux-meat industry is starting to explore fruit fly patties and mealworm nuggets

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

Ready Aim Omicron!

Drugmakers always knew variants would arise. The latest will test their preparedness

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

Crossing Borders With Crypto

A Mexico-based startup says it can send remittances from the U.S. cheaper and faster

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

A Crash Course in Omicronomics

Sussing out the impact of the new coronavirus variant on growth and inflation

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

Treasure Hunters Of the Stalled Supply Chain

For salvage companies, an unclaimed shipping container is a potentially profitable mystery box

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

In the EV Age, Hyundai Still Has High Hopes for Hydrogen Cars

The South Korean automaker sees fuel-cell technology as key to decarbonizing global transportation

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

The Next Accounting Fiasco

Twenty years after Enron’s failure, investors are still vulnerable to corporate numbers games

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

When Same-Day Delivery Is Too Slow

Gopuffis trying to outrace its competitors in the “dark convenience store” business

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 06, 2021

The Most Broken Business in America

Biden’s Build Back Better plan may make day care more affordable for parents—if the providers don’t go belly up first

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021
RELATED STORIES

TRADING APPS MOVE TO GET A LIVE PERSON TO HEAR YOUR PROBLEMS

It’s one of the downsides of apps that make things like ordering food or buying stocks and cryptocurrencies easier: What happens when something goes wrong?

2 mins read
Techlife News
October 09, 2021

ROBINHOOD'S CRYPTO TRADING SURGES, AS OVERALL GROWTH SLOWS

After helping a new generation of investors get into stocks, Robinhood is increasingly doing the same for cryptocurrencies.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #512

Who Really Gets Rich From Robinhood

The app makes millions funneling inexperienced investors to Wall Street traders. Did Alex Kearns pay with his life?

10+ mins read
Mother Jones
July/August 2021

STOCK TRADING APP COMPANY ROBINHOOD FILES PLAN TO GO PUBLIC

Stock trading app company Robinhood said this week that it has submitted a confidential plan to go public later this year.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #491

Freddie: My ‘Robin Hood' past at Woolies!

FREDDIE Flintoff has confessed to a ‘Robin Hood’ past when he worked at Woolworths as a lad – stealing expensive goods for his pals.

2 mins read
Manchester Evening News
November 01, 2021

Robin Hood - PRINCE OF THIEVES

Buff looks back at how one American Kevin teamed up with another to give Nottingham’s legendary outlaw a new lease of life in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. But it wasn’t all plain sailing: production problems, casting issues and on-set difficulties proving almost as dastardly as the scene-stealing Sheriff…

8 mins read
Total Film
September 2021

How Stories Influence Investment Questions

When we look at trends, there are underlying narratives that keep recurring and we need to consider them.

4 mins read
Finweek English
6 August 2021

HOOD: OUTLAWS & LEGENDS

The creators of Eve Valkyrie blend folklore with heist movie

4 mins read
Edge
December 2020

Arrowing experience to fill lockdown hours

While some took up breadmaking and learning new languages during the COVID-19 lockdown, Soldier Palmer turned to archery

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
August 19, 2020

PERSONALISED FACE MASKS - The New Fashion Statement

Masks are becoming more funkier and trendier by the day, as people have started to look at it not only as an essential but also as a fashion statement, writes Chandni Kumar, Digital Influencer, Creative Consultant & Founder of The Talk Studio.

2 mins read
Shoes and Accessories
July 2020