Microsoft is seeing booming demand for its artificial intelligence (AI) products in Hong Kong, where the US tech giant is the largest player in the space owing to the conspicuous absence of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
Microsoft said it has seen AI usage on its Azure cloud platform jump sevenfold in Hong Kong over the past six months, as it seeks to leverage its use of OpenAI’s Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) models to improve education, healthcare and fintech in the city.
Likening AI to momentous technological shifts in the past such as the printing press and the steam engine, Microsoft Asia president Ahmed Mazhari said the industry is just at the start of a marathon, and Hong Kong has some unique advantages.
“We believe Hong Kong has that ability to pivot and innovate. Hong Kong is also one of the largest financial centres in the world,” Mazhari said. “Hong Kong is now trying to pivot to using technology to become even more relevant in the financial ecosystem.”
Microsoft has been making a concerted push to promote its generative AI products and Azure cloud platform in the city. The Redmond, Washington-based company recently partnered with eight Hong Kong universities to offer a series of AI workshops. A number of fintech companies have also announced partnerships.
While Microsoft’s Bing Chat is accessible in the city without a virtual private network – differentiating it from its biggest rivals – it has largely focused on carving out an edge in enterprise offerings. The software giant has touted its ability to keep corporate information sandboxed, saying its large language models (LLMs) will never be trained on customer data.
“[When] you use the enterprise chat, we will not store your questions,” said Cally Chan, general manager of the company’s Hong Kong and Macau operations. “The data you use to train it will only happen in your own subscription. We will…
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