In Taiwan, stock investment has become a much more widely accepted part of personal financial planning.
In 2015, about 40% of Taiwanese had trading accounts. By 2020, that percentage had grown to nearly 50%. The fact that one out of every two people engages in stock trading in Taiwan is an exceptional number.
As a result of this surge of investor activity, the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation (TWSE) has a responsibility to address the issue of how to strengthen retail investors’ education, improve financial literacy and enhance the public’s investing knowledge.
There is a vast amount of information available about the stock market, and a lot of it is jargon. Since 2008, TWSE has taken a unique approach to the important task of retail investor education by producing its own comics.
Since debuting in 2008, 17 volumes of the TWSE comics have been released annually, with the goal of introducing stock-market information to students and newcomer investors. The comics take the extensive and complicated information about the market and make it more accessible to layman investors by connecting them to familiar activities and games. For example, in the latest episode, the difference between “call auction” and “continuous trading” is compared with the bidding process for apples in the market. In an earlier episode, the distance between runners was used to explain the tracking error of ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).
Since the comics are easy to understand and cover a wide range of topics about stock investment – such as an overview of stock-market operations, basic investment concepts, and risk awareness – they are widely credited and used by teachers as supplements to financial education courses.
Humour and real life
By embedding humour and real-life stories into the scenes, the TWSE comics ensure that education and entertainment go hand in hand.
The latest episode depicts Miru, a waitress at Café Smile. She had to find another job because the café was being redecorated. On the first day of her new job at a bridal boutique, Miru accidentally broke the photographer Jay’s camera, and had no choice but to become his assistant to repay the loss. This began a series of plot twists and turns in which Miru had to manage unexpected customer requests and even became involved in a kidnapping!
In addition to providing entertaining stories, the TWSE comics also retain readers by connecting each episode. Miru, the waitress, was first introduced in the 16th episode as a supporting character, before becoming a heroine in the 17th episode. This continuity not only helps loyal readers engage with new stories quickly, but encourage new readers to look back through earlier episodes to catch up.
For example, the 13th to 15th episodes of the comics form a trilogy. They depict the journey of Yu-Feng, the heiress of the Royal enterprise, to seek the legendary “Knight of Golden Share”. Because the story is mainly set on a campus, the trilogy captured the attention of many students, who became eager to see how the story developed, while simultaneously expanding their financial knowledge.
While making comics informative and enchanting is always a top priority, the TWSE is also committed to expanding distribution. In line with the recent digital reading trend, the TWSE has partnered with most counties and cities in Taiwan so that the public can now borrow digitalised TWSE comics from the e-book platforms of public libraries, and track their reading progress across multiple devices.
Digitisation enables the comics to be seen by more people and accelerates the dissemination of financial knowledge, while reducing paper consumption and delivering the optimal choice of reading experiences to readers.
Though the TWSE comics have been an iconic achievement, the TWSE never hesitates to seek innovative ways to improve the public’s financial literacy. Apart from the comics, the TWSE has created a wide variety of promotional events, like securities knowledge learning workshops for teachers, campus securities knowledge contests, and more.
Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has ensured that financial literacy and promotion remains uninterrupted.