Hong Kong Stock Exchange

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 - IG

Why We Chose IG

Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand-US offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.

"IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA
  • Platforms: Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Min. Deposit: $0
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)

Pros

  • IG is amongst the best in terms of its range of instruments, which includes stocks, forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, providing ample diversification opportunities
  • IG offers an extensive collection of professional and engaging educational resources, including webinars, articles, and analysis
  • As a well-established broker, IG operates under strict regulatory guidelines in multiple jurisdictions, maintaining a high level of trust

Cons

  • IG applies an inactivity fee of $12 per month after 2 years, deterring casual investors
  • Stock and CFD spreads still trail the cheapest brokers like CMC Markets based on tests
  • Beginners might find IG’s fee structure complex, with various fees for different types of trades or services, potentially leading to confusion or unexpected charges

#2 - Moomoo

Why We Chose Moomoo

Moomoo is an SEC-regulated app-based investment platform that offers a straightforward and affordable way to invest in Chinese, Hong Kong, Singaporean, Australian and US stocks, ETFs and other assets. Margin trading is available and the brand offers a zero-deposit account as well as several bonuses.

"Moomoo remains an excellent choice for new and intermediate stock traders who want to build a diverse investment portfolio. What really stands out is the broker's user-friendly app and the low trading fees."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Stocks, Options, ETFs, ADRs, OTCs
  • Regulator: SEC, FINRA, MAS, ASIC, SFC
  • Platforms: Desktop Platform, Mobile App
  • Min. Deposit: $0
  • Min. Trade: $0
  • Leverage: 1:2

Pros

  • There is no minimum deposit requirement making the broker accessible for beginners
  • There are reduced options contract fees from $0.65 to $0
  • It is reassuring that Moomoo holds licenses with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), among others

Cons

  • There is no phone or live chat support - common options at most other brokers
  • It's a shame that there is no 2 factor authentication (2FA), despite the other security features on offer
  • There is no negative balance protection, which is a common safety feature at top-tier-regulated brokers

#3 - Videforex

Why We Chose Videforex

Launched in 2017, Videforex offers access to stock, index, crypto, forex and commodities markets via binary options and CFDs. The proprietary platform, mobile app and integrated copy trading are user-friendly and will suit new and casual traders, and the market analysis tools and trading contests provide good ways to improve your trading skills.

"Newer traders will find a lot to enjoy about trading binary options on Videforex's easy-to-use proprietary platform, as well as the broker's copy trading solution. Payouts also remain higher than most alternatives climbing to 98%."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Binary Options, CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
  • Platforms: TradingView
  • Min. Deposit: $250
  • Min. Trade: $0.01
  • Leverage: 1:500

Pros

  • The firm facilitates both day trading and binary options which is great for those looking to diversify their portfolios
  • Videforex regularly runs trading contests, offering great practice opportunities and cash prizes to beginners and experienced traders
  • You can easily mirror the trades of experienced investors with low fees

Cons

  • No MetaTrader 4 integration
  • The broker isn’t overseen by a trusted regulatory agency
  • US clients aren’t accepted due to legal restrictions

#4 - Scope Markets

Why We Chose Scope Markets

Scope Markets offers day trading and investing in multiple spot and CFD instruments. The group of brokers is regulated in several locations, including Belize, Kenya and South Africa. Users get competitive trading conditions, a range of payment methods, strong support and can get started in a few straightforward steps.

"Scope Markets continues to appeal to experienced short-term traders seeking highly leveraged CFDs and spot investment products on the powerful MetaTrader 5 platform. Investors can also access additional trading tools, including premium signals and PAMM/MAM accounts. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, CFDs, Stocks, Commodities, Indices, Futures
  • Regulator: CMA, FSC, FSCA
  • Platforms: Scope Trader, MT4, MT5
  • Min. Deposit: $50
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 lots
  • Leverage: 1:2000

Pros

  • Day traders can access both the MT4 and MT5 platforms, with support for Expert Advisors (EAs) and auto trading strategies
  • The broker offers multilingual, 24/5 customer support via telephone, email and live chat
  • There's a decent range of research and analysis resources including a market blog, forex calculators and an economic calendar

Cons

  • Spreads are wider than some alternatives, starting from 0.9 pips for major pairs - the best brokers offer spreads from 0.0 pips
  • Educational resources are very limited which will reduce the appeal for beginners
  • Scope Markets is not overseen by any of the top-tier regulators in the US, Europe or Australia

#5 - ForexChief

Why We Chose ForexChief

ForexChief is a foreign exchange and CFD broker, established in 2014. The company is based offshore and registered with the VFSC and FMA. Users can choose between a wide selection of accounts and base currencies, making ForexChief accessible to global traders. The brand also stands out for its no deposit bonus and fee rebates for high-volume traders.

"ForexChief continues to prove popular with investors looking to trade highly leveraged CFDs on the popular MetaTrader platforms. The broker's rebate scheme and investment accounts will particularly appeal to seasoned traders. However, the lack of top-tier regulatory oversight is a major drawback."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Metals, Commodities, Stocks, Indices
  • Regulator: VFSC
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5
  • Min. Deposit: $10
  • Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:1000

Pros

  • The broker offers a turnover rebate scheme geared towards active investors, as well as trading credits and several other occasional bonuses
  • Traders can access a copy trading solution via the MetaQuotes Signals service
  • ForexChief delivers a high-quality day trading environment via the MT4 and MT5 platforms, with market-leading charts, indicators and tools

Cons

  • The total range of 150+ assets is much lower than most competitors who typically offer hundreds
  • ForexChief is an offshore broker with weak regulatory oversight from the VFSC, so traders will receive limited safeguards
  • The broker trails competitors when it comes to research tools and educational resources

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:

  • Enforcement Division: This HKEX division focuses on investor protection. It ensures market integrity is upheld through surveillance and enforcement.
  • Corporate Finance Division: This department oversees all listing and cash trading procedures, controls stock exchange listing activities and oversees the administration of security legislation.
  • Supervision of Market Division: This division both monitors and supervises clearinghouses and stock exchange activities.
  • Intermediaries and Investment Products Division: These define authorization requirements for the financial integrity of listed intermediaries.

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:

  • FTSE China 50 Index – The top 50 H-Shares, P Chips, and Red Chips on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX)
  • FTSE China A-H 50 Index – The top 50 A-Shares and H-Shares on the Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen Exchanges
  • Hang Seng China Enterprises Index – The top 50 H-Shares on the Hong Kong Stock Market
  • Hang Seng China-Affiliated Corporations Index – The top 25 Red Chips on the Hong Kong 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 to earn more money. Obviously, the risk is also increased, but experienced traders will use this to increase their turnover and maybe even experience a record period.

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:

  • New Year’s Day – January 1st – Closed
  • Chinese New Year – February 11th – Half-Day, 09:30 to 12:00 HKST
  • Chinese New Year – February 12th and 15th – Closed
  • Good Friday – April 2nd – Closed
  • Qingming Festival – April 5th – Closed
  • Easter – April 6th – Closed
  • National Day – May 19th – Closed
  • Dragon Boat Festival – June 14th – Closed
  • National Days – September 21st, October 1st, and October 14th – Closed
  • Christmas Eve – December 24th – Half-Day, 09:30 to 12:00 HKST
  • Christmas – December 27th – Closed
  • New Year’s Eve – December 31st – Half-Day, 09:30 to 12:00 HKST

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 usually 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 should 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 are a great 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.