Hong Kong Stock Exchange

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HKEX brokers offer trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which was established in 1891 and is one of the largest stocks and derivatives markets in both Asia and the world. There have been over 2,500 companies listed on the exchange in recent years.

This article will run through the best brokers with access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2024. We also unpack the exchange’s history and how it operates, including its structure, market opening hours and top companies. Find out how to start trading on the HKEX.

Top Hong Kong Stock Exchange Brokers

These are the 5 best brokers for trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange:

#1 - Exness

Why We Chose Exness

Exness is a Cyprus-based forex and CFD brokerage established in 2008. With over 800,000 clients, several awards and reputable licensing, the broker has maintained its position as a highly respected global brand. Active day traders can access the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms, raw spreads and multiple account types.

"Exness remains an accessible broker for all experience levels, though experienced day traders will particularly appreciate the ultra-low commission rates, fast withdrawals and high-quality charting software."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
  • Regulator: FSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS
  • Platforms: Exness Trade App, MT4, MT5, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:2000

Stock Exchanges

Exness offers trading on 9 stock exchanges:

  • CAC 40 Index France
  • DAX GER 40 Index
  • Euronext
  • FTSE UK Index
  • Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Japan Exchange Group
  • London Stock Exchange
  • Nasdaq
  • New York Stock Exchange

#2 - Pepperstone

Why We Chose Pepperstone

Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for day traders at all levels.

"Pepperstone stands out as a top choice for day trading, offering razor-sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution, and advanced charting platforms for experienced traders. New traders are also welcomed with no minimum deposit, extensive educational resources, and exceptional 24/7 support."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)

Stock Exchanges

Pepperstone offers trading on 22 stock exchanges:

  • Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • CAC 40 Index France
  • DAX GER 40 Index
  • Deutsche Boerse
  • Dow Jones
  • Euronext
  • FTSE UK Index
  • Hang Seng
  • Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • IBEX 35
  • Japan Exchange Group
  • Korean Stock Exchange
  • London Stock Exchange
  • Nasdaq
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Russell 2000
  • S&P 500
  • SIX Swiss Exchange
  • Shanghai Stock Exchange
  • Shenzhen Stock Exchange
  • Taiwan Stock Exchange
  • Toronto Stock Exchange

#3 - Eightcap

Why We Chose Eightcap

"Eightcap delivers in every area for day traders with a growing selection of charting platforms and AI-powered tools. Now sporting 250+ crypto CFDs and the Crypto Crusher market scanner, it's also become a stand-out choice for crypto trading, winning our 'Best Crypto Broker' award two years in a row."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities
  • Regulator: ASIC, FCA, xCySEC, SCB
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView
  • Minimum Deposit: $100
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots

Stock Exchanges

Eightcap offers trading on 16 stock exchanges:

  • Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • CAC 40 Index France
  • DAX GER 40 Index
  • Dow Jones
  • Euronext
  • FTSE UK Index
  • Hang Seng
  • Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Japan Exchange Group
  • London Stock Exchange
  • Nasdaq
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Russell 2000
  • S&P 500
  • SIX Swiss Exchange
  • Toronto Stock Exchange

#4 - FOREX.com

Why We Chose FOREX.com

Founded in 1999, FOREX.com is now part of StoneX, a financial services organization serving over one million customers worldwide. Regulated in the US, UK, EU, Australia and beyond, the broker offers thousands of markets, not just forex, and provides excellent pricing on cutting-edge platforms.

"FOREX.com remains a best-in-class brokerage for active forex traders of all experience levels, with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads from 0.0 pips and low commissions. The powerful charting platforms collectively offer over 100 technical indicators, as well as extensive research tools."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Futures, Options, Commodities
  • Regulator: NFA, CFTC, CIRO, FCA, CYSEC, ASIC, SFC, FSA, MAS, CIMA
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $100
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:400

Stock Exchanges

FOREX.com offers trading on 14 stock exchanges:

  • Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • Borsa Italiana
  • CAC 40 Index France
  • DAX GER 40 Index
  • Dow Jones
  • Euronext
  • FTSE UK Index
  • Hang Seng
  • Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • IBEX 35
  • Japan Exchange Group
  • Nasdaq
  • S&P 500
  • SIX Swiss Exchange

#5 - eToro

Why We Chose eToro

eToro is a top-rated multi-asset platform which offers trading services in thousands of CFDs, stocks and cryptoassets. Launched in 2007, the brand has millions of active traders globally and is authorized by tier one regulators, including the FCA and CySEC. The brand is particularly popular for its comprehensive social trading platform. Cryptoasset investing is highly volatile and unregulated in the UK and some EU countries. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply. 76% of retail accounts lose money.

"eToro's social trading platform leads the pack with a terrific user experience and active community chat that can help beginners find opportunities. There are also competitive fees on thousands of CFDs and real stocks, plus excellent rewards for experienced strategy providers."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, ETFs, Cryptos, Futures, Commodities, Bonds
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, FSA, FSRA, MFSA
  • Platforms: eToro Web, CopyTrader, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $50
  • Minimum Trade: $10

Stock Exchanges

eToro offers trading on 24 stock exchanges:

  • Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • Borsa Italiana
  • CAC 40 Index France
  • DAX GER 40 Index
  • Deutsche Boerse
  • Dow Jones
  • Euronext
  • FTSE UK Index
  • Hang Seng
  • Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • IBEX 35
  • Japan Exchange Group
  • Korean Stock Exchange
  • London Stock Exchange
  • Nasdaq
  • Nasdaq Nordic & Baltics
  • National Stock Exchange Of India
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Russell 2000
  • S&P 500
  • SIX Swiss Exchange
  • Shanghai Stock Exchange
  • Taiwan Stock Exchange
  • Tokyo Commodity Exchange

How To Compare HKEX Brokers

Before you can start investing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, you need to choose from the list of  available HKEX brokers. Below we outline some of the key considerations when comparing brokers with access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Fees

One of the first things to look at in the search for the best HKEX brokers is trading fees. FxPro operates a no-dealing-desk model, meaning orders are executed with zero intervention, directly through top-tier liquidity providers. This means fewer costly commission charges and access to the best bid and ask prices.

HKEX brokers may also have additional costs such as exchange data subscriptions, account maintenance charges, and sometimes costly currency conversion fees.

Customer Service

Another key comparison between HKEX brokers is the customer service offering. The best brokers with access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will provide support during market opening hours at a minimum. Top-ranked HKEX brokers will have help available 24/7. Pepperstone is a good example, offering toll-free telephone helplines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Whether it be an email address, international telephone number or live chat services, you need a responsive and reliable support hub, particularly if you run into account or platform glitches. Remember to consider multilingual services as well if you will need to speak to someone in your native language.

Platforms

The best HKEX brokers will offer industry-recognized platforms such as MetaTrader 4 or TradingView. With that said, proprietary software and bespoke tools are also important to consider, as brokers may provide incentives for use or offer better HKEX market data, for example.

Mobile app compatibility may also be important if you are planning to trade on the go. You will need full account management and customizable charts/graphs with zoom and scroll functionality for smaller screens. Historical data, technical indicators and correlation with other global indices would be good to see too.

Also look out for HKEX brokers that offer demo account services. Here you can practice trading the exchange risk-free and get to grips with the available price data, platform features and analysis tools.

What Is The Hong Kong Stock Exchange?

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange, or HKEX, is an exchange in the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region). With a market capitalization of USD 6.81 trillion (that’s HKD 52.96 trillion in the native currency) following its last annual report, it is currently ranking in the top 5 stock markets around the world. The HKEX has a monthly trading volume of USD 182 trillion and an average daily volume of USD 6.067 trillion.

The number of listed companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has grown to over 2,500 in recent years, greater than either of its mainland Chinese counterparts. It is one of the fastest-growing stock exchanges in the world and, as recently as 2008, it only had 1,200 listed companies.

History

The HKEX trading centre and Hong Kong securities markets can be traced back as far as 1866 but it was formally established in 1891 when the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong was set up. In 1914, the name was changed to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Until 1921, membership of the exchange was characterized by non-Chinese people. In 1921, the Hong Kong Stockbrokers’ association was formed. This was an all-Chinese stock market. The two continued separately until the end of World War II when they were merged.

Spurred on by the rapid growth of Hong Kong’s economy, new exchanges were born. By 1972, Hong Kong had four separate stock exchanges that were fit for operational procedures. There were many calls for a unified stock exchange and 1980 saw the formation of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, with trading commencing in 1986.

Following the market crash in 1987, significant regulatory and infrastructural changes were put in place. In 1989, the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company was created to implement a central clearing and settlement system for securities transactions.

In 2000, the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company and Hong Kong Futures Exchange were merged to form a new holding company, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).

Structure

Now, the main members of the board of HKEX are the CEO Nicolas Aguzin and the chairman Laura Cha.

The main regulatory board for the Hong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The primary role of the regulator is to implement any legislation and protect investors. It has four operational units:

Indices

Hang Seng Index

The main index for the HKEX market is the Hang Seng Index, compiled of the top 50 companies listed on the exchange. These 50 companies represent around 58% of the entire market capitalization of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This is the most common index, and typically the one you will find listed across many international HKEX brokers.

It is a capitalization-weighted index, which means the components are weighted according to the total market value of their outstanding shares.

Other Indices

There are a few other indices of note that relate to the HKEX and these can provide exciting opportunities via brokers with access to the Hong Stock Exchange:

Listing Requirements

Keen news followers may have noticed some recent announcements by HKEX regarding updates to the rules for listing new companies. From January 2022, any company seeking to be listed on the main board is now required to have earned at least HKD 80 million (USD 10.3 million) in combined profits in the three years before listing. This is a 60% increase from the previous requirement.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has a Growth Enterprise Market (GEM). This market allows companies that do not meet the profitability requirements of the main board to be posted as an IPO with a warning to investors that they do not meet the requirements.

Rules

Don’t have time to read chapter 5 and beyond of the HKEX rules? Fear not, we have a summary of the relevant rules for stocks and futures so that you know your rights and can focus on your daily investments via HKEX brokers.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has a T+0 rule. This means that stocks can be bought and sold in real-time, without needing to wait a day. This is great for short-term economics as historical graphs, charts, prices and data show that the live prices of both indices and stocks can fluctuate heavily within hours. Real-time live quotes combined with no limits on timings mean investors can buy or sell shares within hours as the price changes and potentially make a profit.

Moreover, there is no price limit on the HKEX. There is no limit to the rising and falling of stock and index prices on the market. Keen traders will notice that this greatly increases the opportunities for participants and members. Obviously, the risk is also increased.

Market Hours

HKEX trading hours are Monday to Friday for 5 hours and 30 minutes. The weekend consists of two non-investment days for the market. This is reflected across all HKEX brokers that offer investment opportunities on the exchange.

The morning session for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange runs from 09:30 to 12:00 HKST (that’s GMT+8 for UK traders). There is then a suspension of trading between 12:00 and 13:00 HKST for a scheduled lunch break. Following this, the afternoon period begins and the market is live from 13:00 HKST to the closing time of 16:00 HKST. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange does not have any night-time trading hours for ETFs, stocks, bonds or futures.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange does have extended and after hours sessions for securities and stocks. There is a pre-market session between 09:00 and 09:30 HKST and an extended morning session from 12:00 to 13:00 HKST.

The opening hours of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange markets can be affected by natural events such as typhoons. In the event of a typhoon or rainstorm warning, operating hours will not begin until at least two hours have passed since the discontinuation of the warning. This can significantly impact the working hours of the exchange. If the warning has not ceased by 12:00 HKST, there will be no investment opportunities that day. Keep an eye on your HKEX brokers’ published calendar for live market changes.

Holidays

The HKEX trading calendar and holiday schedule is busy with closures and half-trading days. The dates that these fall on vary each year, so don’t look at last year’s calendar to see when the public holidays will be in 2024. HKEX brokers will reflect all open and closed investment days within their integrated calendars.

In total, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was closed for thirteen days in 2021, with three half-trading days. If the market is closed today, there are plenty of other options with full hours within the year.

The list below details the typical market opening hours taking into consideration different holidays or notable dates in 2024 such as the Chinese New Year, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so you don’t need to find a calendar pdf to see if HKEX trading is open today:

Northbound HKEX trading (investing in mainland-listed stocks) is only permitted when the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets are open. For the northbound calendar, refer to the Shanghai and Shenzhen calendars.

Top Companies / Biggest Players

So, who are the biggest players in the HKEX markets and which company has the largest market capitalization? We have compiled the top 5 listed companies with their market capitalization below:

  1. AIA – HKD 6.764 trillion
  2. Tencent Holdings – HKD 4.114 trillion
  3. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – HKD 2.878 trillion
  4. China Construction Bank – HKD 2.167 trillion
  5. Bank of China – HKD 1.803 trillion

Head to the official index for the top stocks by market cap, along with any new additions. Many of the best HKEX brokers also offer detailed insights into leading stocks, along with key financial metrics to aid investment decisions.

Why You Should Trade On The HKEX

While you won’t find many of the most popular US companies listed on the HKEX trading centre like Gamestop and Nio, it does have an interesting market with some exciting stocks. There are many popular stocks available on the market that you will find through registered brokers, such as Alibaba (NASDAQ stock code: BABA), Xiaomi, JD.com Inc, Kuaishou and L’Occitane.

HKEX investing also gives access to the mainland markets in China, which are not always open to foreign investment. Through the Hong Kong market, you can start investing in these Chinese stocks via registered brokers in parallel with the more well-known stocks on the Hong Kong Exchange.

How To Start Trading On The HKEX

So, you have arrived at the address of the HKEX centre, entered the building and you are on the trading floor waiting to get started (figuratively of course). This guide will help you start investing on the market from abroad via HKEX brokers:

  1. Open And Fund An Account: Once you have decided on HKEX brokers, start an application with one and register for membership. When you have filled out any trading arrangement forms required, you will need to deposit funds to trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Some HKEX brokers will have a minimum deposit amount, while others may not. Watch out for currency conversions as these can add up.
  2. Get A Platform: With an account set up and funded, you need to find a platform, such as Metatrader 4 or Orion, that is supported by your broker to trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Some platforms are web-based, while others can be downloaded as an app on your desktop or mobile. Get to know your chosen platform, its layout and how it works.
  3. Research And Buy Stock: Now you are all set up to buy stock on the HKEX markets. Research the daily trading values and past trends, investigate any past trading halt announcements, maybe read the prospectuses or check the logos and symbols of different companies. Check what you need, get ready and open your position.

Terminology

It is important to know what different investing terminology means and what you can and cannot do when it comes to investing on the HKEX. Other than standard trades where you directly buy and sell a stock, there are a few other mechanisms to know about. For those investment styles that are permitted on the exchange, look out for HKEX brokers that support these approaches if they are important to your strategy.

Lots

When people refer to trading lots on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), they are talking about the minimum trading unit (i.e. 1 lot). 1 lot could be 100 shares, 500 shares, 1000 shares, etc., depending on the stock price.

Odd Lots

Odd lot HKEX trading simply means that someone’s holdings in a specific stock are less than one lot. This is often referred to by brokers as fractional stocks/shares.

Block Trading

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange features a block trade facility. Block trades comprise large orders that are negotiated privately, away from the public auction trading market. Orders of this size generally have a price range that is dependent on when they are filled and they can have a big impact on the market.

Block trade aggregation means the orders cannot be separated into individual orders. These orders are usually completed by trading businesses due to the amount of capital required.

Options Trading

Options trading is allowed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Essentially, an option is a contract linked to an asset such as a stock. The contract gives you the right to trade a set volume of stock at a predefined price some time in the future, making you a trading right holder. However, you don’t have to buy the stock under the pre-defined rules if you don’t want to.

Margin Trading

Whether you can use margin investing on the exchange will depend on HKEX brokers. Simply put, margin trading allows you to borrow funds from brokers with access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so that you can put more capital down. This increases potential profits but also increases the risk of losses.

Wash Trading

Wash trading is illegal on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and most other stock exchanges. It is a form of market manipulation in which an investor simultaneously buys and sells the same stock or financial instrument through different HKEX brokers to create misleading activities in the marketplace.

Insider Trading

This is another form of investing that is illegal on the HKEX and other exchanges. Insider trading refers to someone either being directly connected to a company or knowing someone who is buying or selling stocks based on information that is not yet publicly known, saving them losses or making a profit in the process.

Cross Trading

Cross trading is not permitted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. A cross trade is a financial practice where buy and sell orders for the same stock or asset are offset without being recorded as a trade on the exchange, without disclosure.

Algorithmic Trading

Algorithmic (algo) investing is allowed on the HKEX markets. It is a method of automated trading where a computer program or API makes trades according to pre-programmed instructions and signals. This form of investing can be risky as it limits your manual input so we would only recommend it for experienced traders.

Look out for HKEX brokers that offer this service plus other auto services such as copy trading.

Tips For HKEX Trading

History Can Repeat Itself

While it doesn’t always happen this way, historical data, statistics and trends can indicate the future movement of a stock or asset on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Look up historical charts and graphs on TradingView or via your HKEX brokers’ platform data for any company you are thinking of investing in.

Read The News

Staying up-to-date on the latest company announcements and financial news is key to investing on the HKEX. Announcements lead to status and value changes for companies and they could see stock prices enter a new phase. The best brokers that support trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will integrate live-news streams including the latest financial projections for key companies within their platform interface.

Demo Accounts

If the HKEX brokers you are reviewing offer one, a demo account is a great way to practice speculating before staking actual money. They allow you to perfect your strategies and get a feel for the platform you have chosen. This way, by the time you start the real job on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, you will be well versed in the different occurrences and tools at your disposal.

Final Word On HKEX Brokers

HKEX brokers offer access to one of the largest stock exchanges in the world. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has an extremely high market capitalization and equally high investing volume, making it an exciting place for traders to invest. Experienced traders could see this market as an opportunity to diversify their portfolios and invest in some of the biggest companies in the world, many of which are not available on western exchanges. Follow the tips above, compare HKEX brokers before opening a live account, and keep an eye on the market opening hours and calendar before you start investing today.

See our table of the best brokers with access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to get started.

FAQs

Can I Invest In The Hong Kong Stock Exchange From The UK?

Yes, you can invest in the HKEX from the UK. In fact, it is easier than its Chinese counterparts, just register with online HKEX brokers that allows investments in Hong Kong and get started.

What Is The Best Stock To Buy On The Hong Kong Stock Exchange?

There is no simple answer or ‘best’ stock. Refer to the top five companies listed before, these usually have the highest trading volume and liquidity and so may be a good place to start. However, other stocks and financial instruments may better suit certain strategies. The best brokers that offer access to HKEX will publish key financial metrics and the latest updates for the biggest companies listed on the exchange, which can help with your investment decisions.

Is HKEX Open Today?

The exchange is closed thirteen days of the year and operates a half-day on three others. Refer to our calendar to see if the exchange is open today or view your HKEX brokers’ integrated calendar.

Is The HKEX Worth Investing In?

HKEX brokers provide access to one of the top five largest exchanges in the world and offers a great chance to diversify your portfolio with Chinese stocks.

When Is The Best Time To Trade On The HKEX Via Online Brokers?

The HKEX is only open for five and a half hours each day, Monday to Friday. Any time within this short window will offer a high trading volume and liquidity.