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What Are The Emerging FX Trends in APAC? Interview with Joy Li

Gold-i set up their APAC office in Shanghai in 2015 to cover the rising demand from brokers in this region. In this interview with Joy Li, who's been Head of Business Development for APAC since 2019, we hear stories, opinions and learnings from this fast-growing FX region.


Hello Joy, could you please tell us more about yourself and Gold-i?

I’m Joy and I am Gold-i’s Head of Business Development for the APAC region. I’ve worked for the company for three years, based at its Shanghai office. My role involves building strong customer relationships and understanding the different client needs across the region to provide clients with the right solutions to help their brokerages grow.

I am very proud to work for Gold-i – it’s a market-leading firm in our industry, and focuses on bridging technology, multi-asset liquidity management and advanced risk management and business intelligence tools. All products are developed in-house and we continually innovate our products, adding new features in line with client requirements.

What I like most about Gold-i is that it stands out for its strong company culture which makes it a great company to work for. We have a really friendly team and a management team that’s always looking at pushing boundaries and innovating. I enjoy the collaborative and dynamic work environment and feel very much part of a global team.


When and how did Gold-i enter the APAC market? And the Chinese market in particular? Could you share some interesting stories behind this?

Gold-i set up its Shanghai office in 2015, a booming era for the Asia market, after receiving a significant rise in interest from brokers in the region. This coincided with the management team wanting to expand the support team across multiple time zones, so a regional hub in Shanghai made sense.

I didn’t work for Gold-i when they first entered the APAC region but I’ve been told that it was pretty challenging to recruit people at the start; FX and MetaTrader weren’t very well known at all, so it required much training. My predecessor spent four months at Gold-i’s UK office to get sufficient training so that he could go back to Shanghai and grow the APAC team.

In recent years, the landscape we operate in has evolved and we have a growing client base of FX brokers and fund managers across the region. Initially, our clients were primarily Chinese speaking. Now our clients are largely beyond greater China and are spread out across the region, particularly in South East Asia, in countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. In some of these countries, the market is more developed than in others; Gold-i can cater to all of their needs, at whatever stage they are at.


What is your opinion on the forex industry in APAC in general? Do you see any particular trends?

It is difficult to come up with common trends across the whole region as there are so many different elements to factor in, for example, the level of market sophistication in the individual countries, regulation changes, unpredictable trends and risk preferences for traders and brokers. Whilst volumes have increased for some brokers, and others are shutting down and selling their businesses. Some brokers are expanding their business lines whilst others are struggling because of a lack of new business.

With so much unpredictability, however, brokers across the region increasingly realise the need for strong risk management. Gold-i’s Visual Edge business intelligence and risk management tool is proving to be of particular interest at the moment. It’s an easy to use tool which enables clients to monitor key data that drives their business in real-time. This means that they always have an up-to-the-minute overview of their risk and optimise client trade flow accordingly, increasing their profits.


How should a broker choose its Liquidity Provider when it offers a wide spectrum of assets?

There are many things to consider when choosing a Liquidity Provider, and what’s ideal for one brokerage isn’t necessarily the best choice for another. The broker needs to be very clear about which qualities are important to them and what is most suitable for their client base. There’s quite a lot of variation between Liquidity Providers – for example, some Liquidity Providers may be stronger in a particular asset class or region; some may offer a very tight spread but certain brokers may prioritise high-quality service and fund security over this.

Gold-i provides access to over 70 Liquidity Providers through our Matrix liquidity management product, which means there is plenty of choice for clients to have access to liquidity that best suits their needs. Matrix is one of Gold-i’s core products, enabling clients to aggregate multi-asset liquidity feeds.


The world is seeing Covid coming back with more deadly variants. Is this unprecedented pandemic reshaping the entire fintech industry, in your opinion? What will the fintech business look like after this?

Yes, Covid has had a huge impact, not just on our industry but across all industries worldwide. At Gold-i, we all miss the old times when we met with friends at the Expos, grabbed a coffee and talked about news and business. Hopefully, it will be back to normal soon.

However, as a technology company, we have been able to adapt to the changing environment rapidly. We quickly embraced remote working and new ways of communicating within our teams and with clients.

In terms of our business, despite not being able to have face-to-face client meetings, we are fortunate that we operate in a growing industry and so we have still been able to attract new clients during this challenging time. We have also been very much focused on future growth – we have continued to invest in developing our products including Matrix. We have also diversified into new areas such as market data.


Forex is a business of exchanging currency pairs, and we believe success lies in exchanging information as well. How does Gold-i look for its potential business partners?

Gold-i has always been keen to develop relationships with complementary business partners. We are interested in having more local partners across Asia such as Liquidity Providers, resellers, White Label partners and platform partners. These partnerships can be a win-win for both sides! For us, it is essential that we share the same values as our partners so that we can grow together and share the trust to grow faster.


If you are a broker and would like to find out more about Gold-i’s extensive and award-winning Growth Suite of solutions including liquidity managementrisk management and money management, get in touch.

About the author



Gold-i is a global market leader in trading technology, helping hundreds of multi-asset brokers to transform their trading operations with robust liquidity management solutions, award-winning MetaTrader Plug-ins, business intelligence tools and all with the best support in the industry. Gold-i has won over 20 trade awards in recognition of its innovative products, commercial success and future potential, including a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2014. Has been recognised as one of the most influential Fintechs in 2018 and 2019.