In brief

  • Huobi is launching a new app to rival Coinbase and Robinhood.
  • It's focused on Southeast Asian markets, underserved by Huobi's western counterparts.
  • It doesn't charge users any fees.

Singapore-based crypto exchange Huobi today launched Huobi Lite: the company's answer to Coinbase and Robinhood and the "user-friendly" trading platforms they provide. It's not available in the US, and, while available in Europe, it’s primarily aimed at Southeast Asian markets.

Much like the Coinbase app that came before it, Huobi Lite, available today on iOS and Android, is very simple to use. (In fact, its user interface is strikingly similar to Coinbase.) 

But unlike Coinbase, which charges users princely sums for the app’s convenience, Huobi Lite doesn’t charge buyers any fees. Huobi doesn’t act as a broker and doesn’t make money off of price differences. Huobi Lite charges no fees for depositing or withdrawing fiat currencies; no fees for crypto-to-crypto swaps; and commission-free trading.

(Huobi Lite also doesn’t perform any know-your-customer checks—the sort that ask users for identifying information to prevent money laundering—for users trading under $1,000 a day.)

So how does Huobi make any money? Well, for one, the company profits from commission fees levied at brokers and market makers selling through the app.

A Huobi spokesperson told Decrypt the app's focus is on Southeast Asia, which they claim is currently underserved by current crypto apps. 

Huobi Lite supports fiat currencies like the United States dollar (USD), Vietnamese dong (VND), Malaysian ringgit (MYR), Hong Kong dollar (HKD), and Chinese yuan (RMB) via various payment methods, including credit cards. 

San Francisco-based Coinbase is “not currently available in key SEA markets,” a Huobi spokesperson pointed out, like Vietnam and Malaysia. Support is limited in Singapore, Indonesia, and nearby Hong Kong. Robinhood, also from San Francisco, focuses primarily on developed markets like North America and Western Europe.

But crypto adoption is on the rise in Southeast Asia, says Huobi, which is based in Singapore, and last week launched a local crypto exchange in Thailand. Still, “there aren't many simple, user-friendly trading apps that cater to new crypto users. SEA is a mobile-first economy, so we saw an opportunity,” the spokesperson said. 

The Huobi Lite app currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Litecoin, and two of Huobi’s own tokens: Huobi Token and its dollar-pegged stablecoin, Huobi USD.