South Korea the next Japan? Surge in mobile trading could lead the way for FX


Electronic trading on Korea Exchange via mobile has increased to 9% over last five years, despite downturn in participants, demonstrating vast increase in retail client base. Will FX follow?

The combination of volume generation via the use of mobile devices has been a major priority for most retail FX firms around the globe recently, especially those with an eye on ensuring that the clients accrued in the much coveted Asia Pacific region remain engaged regardless of physical location.

Whilst the adoption of mobile trading platforms by FX firms with significant client bases in Japan, China and Hong Kong has proved its mettle, South Korea is following quickly in the footsteps of such important strategic regions for FX firms.

A report this morning by Korean news source Arirang has exposed the necessity for electronic trading firms to ensure that access to trading facilities via mobile devices is a high priority in South Korea on the basis that mobile stock transactions made up 9.5% of the entirety of trades conducted on the nation’s main executing venue, Korea Exchange (KRX) this year.

This represents a sharp increase from the 1.5% conducted via mobile applications just five years ago, with the figure being particularly poignant when bearing in mind that the number of individuals which trade stocks has declined to approximately 28% compared to almost 50% in 2009.

Despite this particular report making specific reference to the proliferation of exchange-executed stock transactions conducted via mobile devices, the substantial upward surge in usage of mobile applications among retail traders could well render South Korea as a highly viable jurisdiction in which to accrue a retail FX client base.

The nation’s business environment bears several similarities to that of Japan, with a free market economy, unburdened by the entry barriers associated with China, as well as a highly educated, analytical and investment-orientated population who are well aversed with the latest technology.

LeapRate spoke this morning to Mushegh Tovmasyan, Chief Commercial Officer at Alpari (UK) Ltd, in order to gain his perspective on how to engage a client base in the region.

Mr. Tovmasyan explained to LeapRate that “Although I do not have actual statistics relating to the amount of mobile users trading FX to give specific detail, I can tell you from my perspective that South Korea is definitely very advanced in technology and mobile usage is high in every sector.”

“In FX, South Korea is a significant market, so i would expect the traders in the region to be active in mobile too” concluded Mr. Tovmasyan.

Indeed with trading volumes in western markets beginning to show signs that the stratospheric volumes of mid-2013 have not returned as the first quarter of 2014 draws to a close, and a constant drive among retail FX firms toward the East prevails, the upturn in retail trading via mobile devices may indicate that South Korea may rise to prominence as a valuable destination.

For more on the global Forex industry see the LeapRate-Dow Jones Forex Industry Report.

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South Korea the next Japan? Surge in mobile trading could lead the way for FX

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