Chinese-owned trading mobile app Webull became the second most downloaded app in the U.S. last week as investors sought alternative platforms to trade in GameStop, AMC Entertainment, and other volatile stocks.
The application hit its highest weekly download count a day after several mobile and online brokerages imposed restrictions on retail investors buying the volatile stocks. Trading platforms such as Robinhood Markets restricted trading of several stocks following the artificially-induced surge of their prices by social media groups, mainly fueled by Reddit's WallStreetBets forum.
WeBull was downloaded and installed more than 100,000 times on Jan. 28 from Google Play and the Apple App Store. This represented a 270% week-over-week increase, data from market analytics company SensorTower showed.
The surge in new users late last week lifted the app to the No. 2 spot as the most downloaded mobile app on the Apple App Store and the No. 3 spot on the Google Play store. A day before the surge, the Chinese-owned app was ranked around 60th overall.
WeBull was founded by former Alibaba Group employee Wang Anguan in 2016. According to analytics firm IT Juzi, Webull has so far raised a total investment of $96 million from backers such as Xiaomi.
Like other trading platforms that experienced an unprecedented increase in trades last week, Webull had been forced to temporarily restrict the trading of highly volatile stocks. However, the company soon lifted those restrictions not long after, allowing investors to use its app to continue buying GameStop and other volatile stocks.
Webull's chief executive officer, Anthony Denier, said in a statement that the temporary restriction wasn't a decision made by the company but was due to issues raised by a third-party clearing company it had been working with. The clearing company reportedly could not keep up with the trades after they went out of control.
Denier said that the company wasn't against the social media traders. He added that he and the trading platform was "part of this revolution that's going on."
Reddit users and other social media traders that held onto the stocks praised WeBull for its decision.
"Webull has taken a stance against brokerages siding with the institutions and has resumed trading of GME and AMC," a post on the WallStreetBets subreddit said.