Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Chin Yi Xuan

Rakuten Trade is one of the best-regulated platforms in Malaysia that offers access to local and US stocks at an affordable fee.

In late 2022, they launched access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX), which makes it easy and affordable for Malaysians to gain exposure to reputable Chinese and Hong Kong companies listed in Hong Kong.

In this post, let’s dive into Rakuten Trade’s latest Hong Kong market offering, and see if this is something to try out!

Highlights of Rakuten Trade HK Stock Trading

  • Affordable brokerage fee: Rakuten Trade offers access to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) at a highly competitive fee, from as low as RM1/trade (for MYR trading), or a min. of HKD35/trade (for HKD trading).
  • Flexible: Invest in Hong Kong-listed stocks via Rakuten Trade in MYR or HKD, your choice.

Why invest in Hong Kong?

The HK stock market offers several distinct benefits compared to investing in the US stock market:

(i) 0% dividend withholding tax

A major benefit of investing in Hong Kong stocks is there is 0% dividend withholding tax.

Meanwhile, most non-US residents (eg. Malaysians, Singaporeans) will be charged a 30% dividend withholding tax while investing in US stocks.

In other words, if an HK stock in your portfolio pays HKD1.00 in Distribution Per Unit (DPU), you will get the full payout instead of having to deduct for withholding tax.

READ MORE: All you need to know about Dividend Withholding Tax

(ii) The easiest way to access prominent China-listed companies

Investing in HK is also the most direct and reliable way for investors to gain access to reputable Chinese companies, such as Xiaomi, Alibaba, Tencent, and more.

Examples of notable brands & companies listed in HKEX. (Photo source: Rakuten Trade)

Compared to investing in Chinese American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) listed in the US that face constant threats of delisting, investing in HKEX equivalent stocks is a more reliable way to gain exposure to Chinese companies.

Source: Reuters

Competitive brokerage fees for the Hong Kong market

Unlike most local brokers that charge unbelievably high rates for their Hong Kong market, Rakuten Trade offers the HK market at a very competitive fee.

With Rakuten Trade, users are able to trade in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) or Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).

[Note]: When you buy HK stocks in MYR, your MYR will be automatically converted to HKD as per Rakuten Trade’s exchange rate.

Below is Rakuten Trade’s Hong Kong market fee structure for MYR trading and HKD trading:

Rakuten Trade brokerage fee for trading HK stocks in MYR

 Trading Value (RM)Brokerage (RM)
Below699.991% or a min. of RM1
Between700-9,999.999.00
Between10,000.00-99,999.990.10% of trading value
Equal & Above100,000.00100.00

Rakuten Trade brokerage fee for trading HK stocks in HKD

 Trading Value (HKD)Brokerage (HKD)
No Tier0.10% of trading valueMin. HKD35.00

Generally, given how Rakuten Trade structure their fees, I’d personally invest using MYR as it is cheaper compared to the min. HKD35 fee for HKD trading.

Other fees while investing in the HK market:

Aside from that, please take note that there are other fees charged by the HKEX while you trade HK stocks, as seen below:

  • Clearing fee: 0.002% of gross amount with a minimum of HKD2.00 per order or a maximum HKD100.00 per order
  • Stamp duty (Stocks): RM1.50 for every RM1,000.00 gross amount, with a maximum of MYR 1,000.00
  • Exchange fee: 0.00565% of gross amount per order
  • HKEX Stamp Duty: 0.13% of gross amount and round up to nearest integer
  • SFC Transaction Levy: 0.0027% of gross amount with a minimum of HKD0.01 per order
  • FRC Transaction Levy: 0.00015% of gross amount with a minimum of HKD0.01 per order

Rakuten Trade vs Competitors – Brokerage Fees by Trade Value

How do Rakuten Trade fees compare to locally regulated competitors?

Below, I compare the brokerage fee of Rakuten Trade to FSMOne, which both offer access to the Hong Kong market:

Trade ValueRakuten Trade (RM trading/HKD trading)FSMOne (HKD)
<RM699.99 (~HKD1,244)1% of trading value, min. RM1 or HKD35.00HKD50.00
RM5,000 (~HKD9,260)RM9 or HKD35.00HKD50.00
RM10,000 (~HKD18,520)RM10 or HKD35.00HKD50.00

From this, it is clear that Rakuten Trade is making foreign market access more affordable for Malaysians.


Trading experience & features:

#1 User-friendly interface

Rakuten Trade built their Hong Kong stock trading service on top of their existing trading platform.

As a long-time user, I think this is good news because Rakuten Trade’s platform is really simple to use.

Either from Rakuten Trade’s website or iSpeed app, you can switch between Malaysia, US, and Hong Kong markets easily.

Rakuten Trade Hong Kong Trading Review and Referral Link
Rakuten Trade user interface is simple to use, be it via website or app.

#2 FREE live datafeed*

In addition, Rakuten Trade offers users access to live datafeed of HK stocks for FREE.

In other words, all HK stock prices are quoted live (ie. Real-Time). For many platforms, you’ll usually have to pay for live data or you’ll only get a delayed datafeed.

Rakuten Trade Hong Kong Trading Review and Referral Link

*Update 31/3/2023: End of free live datafeed for HK stock market

Starting April 2023, users that wish to get access to real-time datafeed will have to subscribe for it at Dashboard -> Setting -> ‘Apply for real-time Hong Kong datafeed’. The price will be RM10/m.

#3 Buy HK stocks in MYR or HKD

As a Rakuten Trade user, you have the choice to store HKD in your account.

This allows for the flexibility to trade HK stocks in either MYR or HKD.

#4 Live Conversion + Tight HKD-MYR Exchange Rate

Rakuten Trade offers a relatively tight HKD-USD spread for users to easily convert between both currencies within the platform.

Furthermore, the conversion process happens real-time, enabling users to convert MYR to HKD (and vice versa) with the latest rate and trade right away.

Lastly, unlike certain brokers, there are no extra fees involved in currency conversion (aside from the spread) so there are no worries about hidden fees.

Rakuten Trade Hong Kong Trading Review and Referral Link
Rakuten Trade MYR to HKD currency conversion rate (as of 1/2/2023)

#5 No charges for corporate action

Furthermore, just like trading Malaysia stocks, Rakuten Trade handles any corporate action for your HK stock investments for FREE.

In other words, you do not have to pay Rakuten Trade in order to receive dividends or execute a right issue (you may have to pay for these on some other platforms).


What u need to know about the HK market

  • HKEX Market hours

The HKEX market hour is slightly different from the Malaysia’s market, as you can see below:

SessionTime
Pre-Open9am – 9:30am
Trading Session9:30am – 12pm
Break12pm – 1pm
Trading Session1pm – 4pm

For the pre-open session, you can begin placing your limit orders but they’ll not be filled until the market opens at 9:30am.


2 areas of improvement

(a) Lack of basic order execution features

One thing that I found lacking while using Rakuten Trade to buy HK stocks is the missing of basic order execution features such as Market Order.

Unfortunately, the only trade execution option on Rakuten Trade is Limit Order.

  • Market Order is an execution feature that allows investors to buy or sell shares at the immediate best price. As such, it is available in most stock trading platforms that I’ve used in the past (even Rakuten Trade’s own Bursa trading)
  • Limit Order allows investors to line up their orders to buy or sell shares at a specific price or better.

While this may not be a huge issue for most investors, a lack of Market Order execution may turn off some investors that prefer not to wait for their orders to be matched, or day-traders that require immediate market execution.

Market Order vs Limit Order
Market Order vs Limit Order

(b) Limited Hong Kong stocks and no HK ETFs (but it’s improving)

Secondly, Rakuten Trade does not actually offer all of the stocks listed in the HK market. In addition, HK ETFs are not currently available on Rakuten Trade.

That said, Rakuten Trade will be gradually adding new HK stocks with time.

As of July 2023, Rakuten Trade offers about 340+ stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).

While you may trade the most well-known HK stocks (eg. Xiaomi, Alibaba, Tencent) on Rakuten Trade, there are some other HK stocks that you may not find on Rakuten Trade.

[Note]: If you have a stock that you want to trade on Rakuten Trade, you can email your request to Rakuten Trade on the matter.


Who should use Rakuten Trade to buy HK stocks?

While not perfect, Rakuten Trade has offered something that all local brokers failed to do: Access to the HK stock market at a truly affordable fee via a Malaysia-regulated platform.

In my opinion, Rakuten Trade is a great option if you are:

  • Seeking for a Malaysia-regulated broker to invest in the HK stock market.
  • Looking to access the HK market at a truly affordable fee.
  • Looking for a user-friendly platform to invest in the HK stock market.

At the same time, it may not suit people that are:

  • Active day traders that require market execution (instead of limit order) or more advanced execution features.
  • Investors or traders that want exposure to more exotic stocks which are not within Rakuten Trade’s list of tradable stocks.

In short, unless you are an active trader, chances are you’ll like what Rakuten Trade has to offer.


Summary: Is Rakuten Trade a good platform to invest in the HK market?

As a whole, I think Rakuten Trade has offered Malaysians a highly affordable choice to invest in the HK market via a locally-regulated broker.

A decent fee structure, user-friendly interface, and transparent conversion rate should convince many investors to forgo the need to open a foreign brokerage account (and experience all the hassle of funding & withdrawals).

Unless you are an active day trader or you require access to less familiar Hong Kong stocks, I am certain you’ll be happy with what Rakuten Trade has to offer.


If you are keen to open a Rakuten Trade account, consider using my referral link below! For that, you’ll get:

  • 1000 Rakuten Trade (RT) points worth RM10 to offset your brokerage fee.
  • + 1000 RT points when you deposit an initial deposit of RM500 or more.
  • + 1 RT point for each RM10 share value when you transfer your shares from other brokers to Rakuten Trade.
  • + 1288 RT points worth RM12.88 when you activate foreign share trading (US & HK market) feature.
  • Get RM30 GrabGifts Voucher* for each market that you trade on for the first time (applicable to Bursa Malaysia, US, and HK markets). (Campaign Period: 1/7 – 30/9/2024, T&C applies)

Aside from that, Rakuten Trade users get +1 RT point for every RM1 brokerage paid! Click HERE for the full T&C on RT points

Open A Rakuten Trade Account Today!

Related Post: Guide – How to activate US stock trading on Rakuten Trade

How can you use these RT points?

These RT points are amazing, as they can be converted into brokerage rebates, Air Asia rewards, Boost stars, and Bonuslink points which are redeemable for rewards. 

p.s. Click HERE for the full T&C of your account opening reward.

Select 'NoMoneyLah' under 'Educator' to get your RT points!
Select ‘NoMoneyLah’ under ‘Educator’ to get your RT points!

How to sign up to trade HK stocks via Rakuten Trade

(A) How to sign up for US stock trading if you are new to Rakuten Trade:

Step 1: Sign up for Cash upfront account

If you are new, you’ll have to sign up for a Rakuten Trade Cash Upfront account.

Consider using my Rakuten Trade referral link by clicking the button below, and you’ll get 1000 RT points (RM10) which can be used to offset your brokerage fee! 

If you need help, click HERE for my step-by-step guide to open a Rakuten Trade account. 

Step 2: Get your Rakuten Trade account within 2 working hours

Your Rakuten Trade account will be activated within 2 working hours. 

Step 3: Log in to your Rakuten Trade account and apply for Foreign Stock Trading

Log in to your Rakuten Trade account either via the website or Rakuten Trade’s iSpeed app. You can locate the Foreign Trading activation button easily within the Rakuten Trade platform.  

Activate Foreign Equity Trading Account on Rakuten Trade

Step 4: Submit your application for US stock trading + agree to the T&C of foreign stock trading

Since you are activating foreign trading on Rakuten Trade, you will also gain access to the US market alongside HK.

Hence, spend 1 minute to share some info required to trade the US stock market (W8BEN form).

Then, agree to the T&C and submit your application. 

Activate Foreign Equity Trading Account on Rakuten Trade

Step 5: Your Foreign Trading account will be enabled within 2-3 working days


(B) How to sign up for foreign trading if you are an existing Rakuten Trade user:

If you are an existing Rakuten Trade user, just follow Step 3 to Step 5 above and you’ll be good to go!


Disclaimer:

This post contains affiliate links, which afford No Money Lah a small referral (and in return, support this blog) if you sign up for an account using my referral link.

The information stated above is based on my personal experience and for purpose of sharing such experience only. It is not intended as professional investment advice. Please contact Rakuten Trade for more information.