Chinese digital payment giant, Ant Financial, has opened up its artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the country’s burgeoning funds management industry.
Ant, which began life 15 years ago as the digital payments service within China’s mega online retailer Alibaba, said last week it would “share” the group’s complete AI package with Chinese fund managers.
In a release, Ant says the 27 Chinese fund managers already hooked up to the corporate AI-powered ‘Caifuhao’ service – launched last year – have seen massive increases in operating efficiency while slashing costs by 50 per cent.
“Additional [AI] benefits include a 10-fold increase in the number of daily visitors, a three-fold increase in the amount invested by returning customers, and an 89% increase in the holding period among all investors,” the statement says.
According to Guoming Zu, Ant Financial Wealth Management Business Group vice president, said the group was now “ready to share full suite of AI capabilities to ecosystem partners in the asset management industry”.
“China’s asset management industry is experiencing an incredible digital transformation, with customer service becoming increasingly more important than sales functions,” Zu told an Ant forum in Beijing last week.
The AI service is offered via the Ant Fortune platform that has attracted more than 100 funds management firms – representing over 90 per cent of the Chinese industry – since it went live in 2015.
“This has resulted in more than 4,000 wealth management products being made available to tens of millions of individual Ant Fortune users,” the release says.
According to a Bloomberg report last week, Ant boasts over 870 million “active” online payment users as well as managing the world’s largest money market fund of about 1.68 trillion Yuan (or NZ$380 billion) gathered from its digital client base.
“The company’s extraordinary rise over the past 15 years has come largely at the expense of traditional financial companies in China and, to a lesser extent, overseas,” Bloomberg says. “Ant’s wildly popular money-market funds have siphoned deposits from banks. Its online payment systems have disrupted card issuers. And its credit units have challenged lenders of all stripes.”
Alibaba, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma, spun off Ant as a separate unit in 2016.