As part of its expansion plans in China, financial stock market gamification app TradeHero has released a Chinese language version for the Android platform. TradeHero has partnered with internet players Baidu and Tencent to host the TradeHero app on their respective app stores.
It has also introduced its version 2.0, which features a free follow function that enables users to follow their “heroes” and get free tips for trading. This is unusual because users previously had to pay to follow their heroes, which is one of TradeHero’s revenue streams. It is possible that since the market base for China is extremely large, TradeHero could make profit from acquiring a larger user base alone, and thus is making user acquisition the priority instead of immediate monetisation via the subscription service.
The new version of the application will also feature upgrades to the interface and will allow for greater social interaction on the app. For example, in addition to social media integration with traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, discussion forums, private messaging and a broadcasting function will also be set up. The company is likely to make a long-term investment in China, as it is also establishing operations in the country to focus on research and development, and customer support.
TradeHero is a free mobile stock market simulation app that uses real-world stock market information to create a social investment network. Unlike other financial tech applications like Nous’s Spark Profit, where revenue comes from large firms that want to gauge the market sentiment, TradeHero makes money from their aforementioned subscription service, where users pay to follow traders who are making money on the platform.
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Users are given a US$100,000 starting portfolio in order to place virtual trades across 28 of the top stock exchanges based throughout the world. If you want to see how the top traders in TradeHero bring in profit, you would need to pay both, the trader and TradeHero a fee starting from US$1.99.
How did TradeHero get access to the market in China, when many others have failed? As reported on its blog post at the start of the year, it was one of only two international companies recently chosen by the Microsoft Accelerator Program in Beijing, a hotly contested event where more than 400 startups in China compete for entrepreneurship support from the technology giant.
Additionally, TradeHero also secured US$10 million in funding from KPCB China and IPV Capital in September 2013, both of which are Chinese venture capital firms. Hence, it’s clear that TradeHero is interested in this market and has spent time and effort getting in touch with the ecosystem in China. Since its launch over a year ago, the mobile app has garnered 400,000 users spread over 108 countries.
China is one of the world’s leading mobile internet economies, with over 460 million mobile netizens and an estimated base of 270 million active Android users, according to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) December 2013 report.
Dinesh Bhatia, Founder and CEO, TradeHero said, “China is key for us as it is a nation of keen investors, and at least half of these trade online. Chinese traders get much of their tips online, so TradeHero is a perfect fit as it is a platform for punters to share tips and see what other investors are doing.”
TradeHero had participated in Echelon 2013 and was named as one of the ‘Top 10 Promising Startups in Asia’.