China’s Ant Group unveils finance AI model as race heats up


HONG KONG, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Ant Group unveiled a finance-specific artificial intelligence (AI) model on Friday and started testing consumer and professional apps for the product, joining a crowded race to deploy AI in heavily regulated China.

The foray by Ant into financial AI is notable as the company founded by billionaire Jack Ma is China’s biggest fintech firm, with more than 1 billion users worldwide for its Alipay payment app.

Ant follows AI announcements by tech giants Tencent (0700.HK) and Xiaomi (1810.HK) on Thursday and Ant’s affiliate Alibaba (9988.HK) in April. By July in China, more than 130 companies had introduced “large language models”, the type that powers OpenAI’s seminal ChatGPT generative AI app, according to Tencent.

Ant said its new model had begun closed tests of the two apps on the company’s wealth management and insurance platforms.

The Zhixiaobao 2.0 app, designed to give consumers financial tips, can match the average financial professional in market analysis and reasoning capability, Ant said. It will be available once it receives regulatory approval.

Unlike other countries, China requires companies to submit security assessments and receive clearance before releasing AI products to the public.

Zhixiaozhu 1.0 can conduct investment analysis and information extraction, among other business tasks, for financial professionals, Ant said.

Reporting by Josh Ye; Editing by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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