Consumer financial services platform SoFi is making its first expansion outside of the United States with the acquisition of Hong Kong-based investing app 8 Securities.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Targeted to personal investors, 8 Securities will rebrand to SoFi Hong Kong and retain its team, who will began launching services in other markets as well.
SoFi currently has about one million members in the U.S. Last month, it acquired payments and bank account infrastructure company Galileo, with the goal of expanding its products further beyond consumer services.
SoFi Hong Kong gives SoFi its first international foothold. In a press statement, Anthony Noto, the CEO of SoFi, said, “We underwent an extensive process in considering our initial expansion into an international market, and it quickly became clear that Hong Kong, a financial capital of Asia, is ripe for innovation. Based on the platform we’ve built, SoFi, together with 8 Securities, can meet the needs of both experienced and novice investors alike, as part of our overall efforts to make headway on our mission outside of the U.S. to help people get their money right.”
Founded in 2012 by former E*Trade executives Mathias Helleu and Mikaal Abdulla, 8 Securities was the first mobile-only investment service and robo-advisor to launch in Asia, and raised $70 million in capital from investors including Velocity Capital, Route 66 Ventures and Normura Asset Management.
A TechCrunch Beijing finalist in 2011, 8 Securities focused on new investors with an online community that lets users follow the portfolios of top-performing members. The app’s members will still be able to trade more than 15,000 U.S. and Hong Kong stocks and ETFs with no commissions, platform fees or custodian fees, and it will continue to be regulated under the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.
SoFi Hong Kong will retain its social trading features, and add new ones like SoFi membership points and collections that organize stocks and ETFs around themes, including gaming, Chinese e-commerce, “clean tech” and digital payments. It plans to introduce new collections, such as “Work From Home” and “Travel,” to gives insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected different sectors.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global markets, SoFi Hong Kong CEO Abdulla told TechCrunch that the first quarter of 2020 was 8 Securities’ strongest ever, with new accounts and assets up 400% in March, compared to the 2019 average.
“We experienced a surge in first-time investors that see the current market pull-back as an opportunity to start investing,” he said. “Despite the market decline our active accounts and assets are higher than they have ever been.”