UP Fintech Talks Up TigerGPT As New Investor Tool

Key Takeaways:

  • UP Fintech has unveiled its TigerGPT investment aide, which will help its customers consider the huge amounts of publicly available data when picking stocks
  • The company joins other Chinese tech names like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent in releasing their own customized chatbots, following the huge attention to OpenAI’s ChatGPT

By Shirley Lau

ChatGPT may have the edge when it comes to general knowledge. But China’s UP Fintech TIGR thinks it has a leg up on the global chatbot sensation when it comes to investing. And that could mean big money for stock buyers who would be the main users for TigerGPT, which UP Fintech officially announced last week.

But UP Fintech’s new chatbot will only be able to do so much, and will stop short of offering actual stock picks. That’s probably just as well, since only a tiny fraction of the thousands of analysts, fund managers and other advisors can consistently pick stocks that outperform the broader market.

ChatGPT has become a global sensation these past few months, even though the AI-powered chatbot developed by U.S.-based OpenAI is out of reach in China. Its huge popularity has spurred a flurry of Chinese firms to accelerate the launch of their own alternative products that can provide answers to almost everything within seconds, and even write poems and news reports.

Baidu BIDUAlibaba BABATencent (0700.HK) and JD.com JD have all joined the chatbot race with new announcements over the last two months, as have smaller players like iFlytek (002230.SZ) and NetEase NTES.

But UP Fintech, best known for its Tiger Brokers stock-trading app, hopes to outshine the competition with its TigerGPT AI-powered investment assistant, which is still under testing and training. UP Fintech says the chatbot will be able to absorb the latest market information, and is touting the virtual tool as the industry’s first AI investment helper.

UP Fintech’s shares traded up 6.2% the day of the announcement last week, as investors looked forward to the chance to make some extra money from the chatbot. But the stock gave back all those gains and more in the next few days as the excitement quickly wore off.

Unlike ChatGPT, which is a general-purpose chatbot, TigerGPT specializes in the investment realm, with a view to “providing intelligent global investment decision-making support for users,” UP Fintech said. It will tap into UP Fintech’s vast content library and other online resources such as research to answer investor queries. With just simple questions, users will be able to access over 10,000 listed company profiles, earnings and corporate actions.

UP Fintech claimed TigerGPT was the first AI investment helper, though we discovered what look like rivals in products like Wealthfront and SigFig, both from the U.S. And just a day after UP Fintech’s announcement, Singapore’s online brokerage Long Bridge Securities launched its own PortAI, an integrated financial intelligence assistant based on OpenAI’s GPT technology.

Compared to TigerGPT, PortAI seems to offer more sophisticated features, at least based on the more detailed description given by Long Bridge. One example is PortAI’s “One Click Summary,” which can extract critical information from lengthy financial articles and deliver a concise summary in seconds. Another feature called “Intelligent Daily Report Recap” is a personalized tool that helps investors understand key indicators specific to their investment portfolio and identify important events related to individual stocks in their portfolio.

All that shows that AI could be an especially valuable tool for investors, and could quickly become an important differentiator for online brokers who can offer the smartest products.

First In China

While it’s far from clear how “smart” TigerGPT will be, the product does appear to be the first of its kind in China, at least based on major announcements so far. Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen, for example, will be incorporated in its DingTalk workplace communication platform to help users with administrative tasks such as summarizing meeting notes. NetEase plans to use its own generative AI to generate dialogue in a martial arts mobile game, reflecting its own background as one of China’s top game operators.

Still, TigerGPT comes as a bit of welcome positive news for UP Fintech, which was in more problematic headlines at the end of last year after it and rival Futu FUTU were ordered by China’s securities regulator to stop taking new clients in mainland China due to operating without necessary licenses. That news sent Tiger’s share price plunging nearly 30% in a single day at the end of last year, and the stock still trades at well below pre-selloff levels.

Financially, UP Fintech seems to be in good shape. Despite global macroeconomic uncertainty, it logged total revenue of $225.4 million last year, including a year-on-year 15.2% rise in fourth-quarter revenue to $63.85 million.

While the announcement of TigerGPT had limited impact on UP Fintech’s stock, it’s still possible the shares could get a boost if the product wows investors at its actual launch. A comparable – and perhaps cautionary – parallel example on the perils of overhyping such new technology can be found in Baidu’s recent launch of its own Ernie Bot.

The search giant’s early February disclosure that it would soon complete testing of Ernie sparked a rally of 15% for its shares in a single day on Feb. 7. But the chatbot’s actual unveiling at a mid-March press conference left many unimpressed. Baidu chief Robin Li’s presentation at a media event featured only pre-recorded and no live demonstrations. The stock already began to sag even before the underwhelming event, and has given back all of its brief gains and more.

For investors, a key question will be to what extent TigerGPT can help them pick winning stocks. The answer may take some time to determine, based on the performance of stocks that investors decide to buy using information they get from the chatbot. And at the end of the day, investors will still need to make the final decision on whether to buy, since the chatbot won’t make actual stock picks.

That said, using any AI chatbot as an investment aide should offer plenty of advantages. One of the biggest is a chatbot’s ability to quickly sift through huge troves of data, such as financial reports, news articles, historical trends and patterns. In the company’s announcement, UP Fintech founder Wu Tianhua noted that such technology can eliminate the “overwhelming feeling” investors may get from trying to make sense from “mountains of scattered data and information.”

AI can also consider other less obvious factors that could affect a stock, such as geopolitical events and new industry developments, without being influenced by emotions or personal biases. All this can help investors reduce their risk exposure, optimize investment strategy and make more informed decisions, which should ultimately improve their chances for higher returns.

But as with all forms of technology, AI chatbots are likely to have their limitations, at least in the short-term, such as inability to provide highly personalized investment advice. Accordingly, potential users of TigerGPT should manage their expectations. And stock brokers probably don’t have to worry about losing their job – at least not just yet.

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