Best American online stock brokerage firm investing/trading accounts for Chinese, Taiwan and Hong Kong citizens

Best Broker For Chinese People

Firstrade is a well-known United States brokerage firm which is run by people of Chinese origin. The company offers website and customer service in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Unlike almost all other brokerage firms, they accept as customers not only U.S. citizens but also citizens of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. If you are one of them then click here and continue reading below to find out more.

Firstrade Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $2.95
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $19.95
Options $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, ETFs
Firstrade minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesFirstrade fees
Promotion linkFirstrade promotions

New Account Setup

Opening an investment account at Firstrade is fast and very easy using their handy online account application form. You first click on their promotion offer: Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades. At the top of the menu on the page that appears is a link ‘Open an Account’. Clicking on this opens a page where you enter your name, e-mail address and all the other required information.

Firstrade Mutual Funds

We will begin Firstrade review with a look at mutual funds offerings. Firstrade clients will find 8,340 mutual funds available for purchase on the broker's website. Of these, over 3,200 have no load. There are approximately 300 funds at the company that have no transaction fee. The broker does have a screener to navigate through these choices. It can be used to search for no-load funds. Other criteria that can be selected include manager tenure, return history, Morningstar rating, portfolio turnover, and total assets. The screener's results can be sorted by all of these criteria. Other mutual fund resources on the Firstrade website include one article on mutual funds and a glossary that includes mutual fund terminology.

Firstrade (member of SIPC) has no charge for mutual funds with low balances. However, the firm does impose a $19.95 charge for selling any mutual fund less than 3 months after buying it. Moreover, sales of any fund held for any length of time will also incur a $19.95 charge if the proceeds are less than $500, unless the entire fund balance is under $500. Funds that carry a transaction fee cost $9.95 to buy and sell. Load funds are always free to trade.

Firstrade Website/Trading Platform/Tools


Firstrade website review

We like how the Firstrade website is designed, with intuitive, clean look. We could usually find everything there reasonably quickly.

Firstrade’s mutual fund research tool pulls data from Morningstar. The broker has screeners for ETF’s, mutual funds, and stocks. The screener for mutual funds does not have an option to search for no-transaction-fee funds, making NTF funds at Firstrade difficult to locate.

Firstrade review - mutual funds

Mobile Trading

The iPhone and Android apps, and the mobile trading site ( are available with a lot of functionality. Both apps are rated by the users of the Google Play and iTunes at about 3.7 stars out of 5.

Firstrade review - mobile trading

Firstrade Advantages

  • The lowest flat-rate stock, ETF, and mutual fund commissions
  • $0 minimum to open an account
  • 11,000 mutual funds and fixed income investments to choose from
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No annual or setup fees for IRA accounts
  • Free dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
  • Easy to use, clean website
  • 12 ETFs are available commission free

Customer Service

Customer service can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, e-mail, and snail mail. The chat and phone service is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM EST.

Firstrade offers customer service to both English and Chinese speakers. Phone service is available in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. The web site and trading platform are available in English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.


Firstrade Summary

Firstrades' flat rate $2.95 per trade commission for stocks and ETFs is the lowest in the industry. Placing a trade with a living, breathing broker is available, and tacks on an extra $13.

Firstrade offers 12 ETF’s from Vanguard, iShares, and Powershares that are free to trade. There is a 10 share minimum with these commission-free ETF’s, and the shares must be held at least 30 days. One of the 12 ETF’s is IVV, iShare’s passively-managed S&P 500 index fund, which carries a very low 0.07% expense ratio.

Mutual funds that carry a load have no transaction fee. Funds that are no-load come with very low $9.95 transaction fee on both the buy and sell ends. Some mutual funds have neither load nor transaction fee (NTF program), making them free to trade.

Firstrade now offers cash management services with the required account equity of $25,000. This cash management account comes with checks and a Visa gold debit card.

The online broker does have some basic educational resources for the self-directed investor. Clients will find a glossary, videos, e-books, and podcasts on topics ranging from options to margin.

In summary, Firstrade now offers the lowest commissions on stocks, mutual funds and ETF's. We recommend the broker for equities and mutual funds investors who are citizens of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Open Firstrade Account

Open Firstrade Account