Tencent's WeBank, China’s first internet-only bank, is banking on artificial intelligence to improve customer service, reported CNBC.
According to the report, citing Yang Qiang, an AI consultant at WeBank, the digital-only bank thinks that deploying virtual robots powered by facial and speech recognition and natural language processing will improve service and increase convenience.
AI is "there only to improve human services," he told CNBC's Arjun Kharpal at the East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China. "Automated service is not an enemy to human services. They should work side by side." What’s more, the executive said that advancements in tech create the possibility for WeBank to have more efficiency than traditional banks in processing loans, conducting risk analysis and offering services that are personalized. "Banking, traditionally, was passive in a sense that … there is an office and people walk in and get services and only the VIP get(s) the best services," Qiang said.
WeBank went live in January of 2015, providing loans to small and micro-sized businesses. The company is backed by Tencent. Qiang told CNBC that AI can also be used in customer service to automate the processes and improve the service provided to customers. He pointed to how users talk to Siri or Google Assistant on their mobile devices. With "about a hundred thousand requests coming in every day," he said, "almost all of them, 98 percent, were handled by robots." The executive noted that customers are "very satisfied" with the use of robots to meet their banking needs.
Back in September, WeBank parent Tencent announced it is restructuring for the first time in six years as it faces tougher web regulations. According to Reuters at the time, the Chinese internet giant announced that Tencent executives will consolidate three content business groups to one unit and implement a new group for cloud and smart industries. In addition, the company will “further explore the integration of social, content and technology that is more suitable for future trends, and promote the upgrade from consumer internet to industrial internet,” and will also create a technology committee to help bolster its research and development, as well as promote collaboration and innovation.