Ant Group Launches Finance-Focused AI Large Language Model

Chinese fintech giant Ant Group has launched an AI large language model specifically aimed at the finance industry, amidst white-hot competition in the artificial intelligence market.

The company, an affiliate of Alibaba, was founded by billionaire Jack Ma and has more than 1 billion users worldwide for its Alipay paymenet app.

But it faced a period of uncertainty following a 2020 regulatory crackdown that derailed an attempted stock market offering.

Large language models (LLMs) power AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT, which kicked off a frenzy of investment into such technologies after its public launch last November.

Ant Group executives announce large language model for financial services industry at an event in Shanghai on 8 September, 2023. Image credit: Weibo

AI investment

The company said it had invested heavily in the back-end technologies, such as graphics processing units (GPUs) required to train such models.

“We have built computing power at a level of 10,000 GPUs,” said Ant vice president Wang Xiaohang at an event in Shanghai. “On this basis, Ant’s entire financial business has quickly switched to the LLM paradigm.”

The US has attempted to slow China’s AI development by restricting the export of high-end AI chips from US firms such as market leader Nvidia.

Ant said its finance-focused LLM was used to upgrade Zhixiaobao, the company’s AI-based financial assistant for wealth management and insurance, for use in tasks such as generating asset-management plans.

Information extraction

The upgrade is to be made available to users when it receives regulatory approval.

Wang said Ant’s LLM had outperformed “mainstream general-purpose LLMs” for financial uses.

Ant said it is also testing an LLM-based application called Zhixiaozhu that can aid finance practicioners in areas such as investment research, insurance and marketing.

The tool can perform investment analysis and information extraction, amongst other tasks, the firm said.

Web3 brand

It is undergoing additional closed tests by Ant and partners, according to the company.

Chinese tech giants Baidu, Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba have already rolled out LLMs of their own, each one backed by massive investments into computing infrastructure.

Ant also announced a Web3 brand called ZAN that is to provide blockchain application development services for institutional and individual developers who need security and compliance products.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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