Fumi Technology spends about RMB 15m every year to purchase data from leading market intelligence and research firms. Founded in Changsha three years ago by Wang Anquan, also the CEO, Fumi runs an army of Webull robo-advisors to help investors and traders optimize their portfolios around the clock.
Currently, mainstream asset management companies in China still rely on human wealth managers to serve their clients. Wang believes that humans can no longer cope with the vast pools of data churned out every minute by trading portals and stock exchanges around the world. AI-powered analytical tools and robo-advisors will therefore become the norm in the future.
In a bid to stay ahead of competitors, the fintech is therefore investing millions to analyze market intelligence and trading data so as to formulate algorithms for current and future robo-advisory services. The stock trading platform currently has about 10m users, 99% of which are residents outside China.
“Our customers already have such need for robo-advisors,” said Wang, “We're building a team responsible for data mining and modeling, and will use deep learning to provide our users with personalized advising services.”
Power to reshape financial markets
Located in Changsha, which is not even a first-tier city in China, Fumi is gearing up to provide the most sophisticated analytical tools and multilingual financial advisory services to investors worldwide. Wang believes that technology has the power to reshape the financial market by lowering cost and improving customer experience.
“Webull's edge lies in the fact that we provide financial services based on big data,” said Wang. Fumi has set aside millions of dollars to buy market data from international companies like Morningstar, Reuters and Hang Seng Bank Group, feeding its algorithms so they could achieve better and faster predictive results.
Formerly from Xiaomi and the Alibaba Group, Wang has found backers who are willing to go in for the long haul. Xiaomi is an early investor of Fumi, which has yet to break even. Gopher Asset Management, the VC arm of wealth management firm Noah Holdings, invested RMB 250m in July 2019. The money is earmarked for the startup's technical R&D and product upgrades.
Right from the start, Fumi had a clear “three-step” strategy: from data to trading, then to robo-advisory services. Its main product, Webull, was initially just an app to provide market information for investment research. The trading feature was added in 2017.
“Our goal is to enable global investors, not just those in China, to diversify their portfolios by investing overseas,” said Wang. “In many countries, there are only limited options for domestic investors who really want access to a much wider market. Providing real-time data and localized services will produce huge business opportunities in the industry.”
Tools for beginners and professionals
Wang likes to compare global asset management to global travel: accessing overseas markets is similar to getting visas to visit foreign countries. The Fumi team has always wanted to make the whole journey as convenient as possible for users, he says.
With an identity document like the passport, retail investors from over 100 countries and regions can open a Webull account with no minimum balance required. The whole process takes only about one minute. The users will have access to five major tradable assets: stocks, funds, foreign exchange pairs and futures contracts; all on 45 exchanges and via more than 100,000 investment vehicles.
Popular free trading apps like Robinhood provide limited research tools considered to be more suitable for beginners. Webull is similarly easy to use for those new to investment; furthermore, its platform provides useful simulator models for non-professionals to practice trading without using real money. This is also popular with users who wish to test new trading strategies before risking their funds on actual trades.
For more experienced investors, Webull offers a wide range of advanced analytics tools, live data and 24 technical indicators. Such attention to detail and product differentiation that cater to different types of investors has given Fumi a competitive edge at home and abroad.
Wang recalled the team developing and introducing 43 iterations of the Webull app within just four months.
“Choosing the right color for a design is a big deal for us,” he said. Fumi, which has posted a seven-week retention rate of 30%, values user experience and feedback to better understand the needs of its customers worldwide. The company has already responded to almost 10,000 emails from users, taking every piece of feedback seriously.