Young Koreans flock to YouTube for trading advice

Would you go to YouTube for stock market trading and investment tips?

Well, millions of South Koreans are doing just that.

Twenty-four year-old Kim Seo-bin is one of the new retail investors.

"It’s not easy for me to analyze markets every day, so during my commute hours to work or workout time I watch investment YouTube channels which briefly explain daily market reports. It feels like I have my own analyst. That's why I use YouTube channels a lot in terms of stock investment."

With an army of new investors like Kim turning to pithy online videos for stock advice, how will the traditional market shift?

First, let’s take a look at who’s behind the camera.

Channels like 3PRO TV and Shuka World have several advantages over traditional business TV shows.

They’re more interactive for viewers who can ask questions in the comments and receive answers from experts in real time.

3PRO TV began in 2019 and now has over 1.5 million subscribers.

Kim Dong-hwan is the channel’s main host.

He says they can post content immediately in response to market news – even outside of their scheduled programs.

"We have our daily sessions in the morning, early morning, and evening, but when there are some drastic market movements or some content we must address urgently, we schedule an impromptu show, without regard for broadcast schedule."

One of their devoted viewers is bank worker Cho Seong-bin.

The 27-year-old began trading in 2020 and has seen a nearly 10 percent return.

"Usually, when I invest in stocks, the first place I get information and gather lots of details is YouTube, which is popular among 20 to 30-year-olds.”

And he’s not alone.

In 2020, the number of South Koreans investing in domestic stocks jumped a stunning 49%. That’s according to industry data.

Retail investors have become the biggest force in the South Korean stock market – KOSPI.

Their $40 billion in net purchases helped the KOSPI rocket over 30 percent in 2020, the strongest performance among the G20 countries.

And DIY stock strategies culled from YouTube channels have become very much the norm for many of the country's retail traders.

But what challenge do these new investors pose to traditional market players?

While interest in trading domestic IPOs has skyrocketed, it’s become more difficult to accurately price them.

Some experts also caution new investors to be wary of being too trusting of financial advisors on YouTube, without understanding of macroeconomic issues.

South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service says it’s closely monitoring the rise of YouTube channels for any market volatilities that the trend may bring- but so far, there are no plans to regulate them.

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