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AiThority Interview with Charles Zhang, General Manager at Advance.AI

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Tell us about your role at Advance AI and the technology you handle.

I am the General Manager of Enterprise Products at Advance.AI and am also leading our business expansion into the India market. As my title suggests, I handle our enterprise technology products across eKYC, credit scoring, and anti-fraud.

How much have AI capabilities for Internet businesses evolved in the last 12-18 months?

In the sectors we provide our technology solutions to (banking, e-commerce, telcos), we have really seen the evolution of AI deliver real improvements in a few key areas. These include driving business growth and restoring confidence through reduced risk of fraud exposure, especially in emerging markets across Asia where it remains a major problem. We also see AI contributing to the opening of new customer segments and markets for our customers, who are able to cater to more underserved and underbanked segments, ultimately providing better financial services access to these groups. AI makes underbanked segments more viable to serve at low-cost thanks to automating so many back-end processes in the business, from monitoring to fraud controls. Over the last 18 months, we’ve only been able to achieve this through cutting-edge AI technology that is helping to automate the workforce.

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What is Advance.AI and what key technologies do you provide to customers? 

ADVANCE.AI’s vision is for “Better AI, Better Life, and Better Human”. It strives to build and promote AI technologies for good, helping businesses drive growth by reducing fraud risks, improving operational efficiency, as well as empowering a new generation of credit scoring for financial institutions to serve the underbanked in emerging markets. ADVANCE Guardian, the company’s flagship product, uses AI technology to assist banks and other businesses in e-KYC, fraud detection, and credit scoring.

Which titles and regions are you currently selling to?

ADVANCE.AI currently has more than 300 enterprise customers across five markets in Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and India). Key sectors it serves include banking and FinTech, telecommunications, and retail.

What were the key takeaways from the World AI Show event? How do you promote your ideas at such events?

My key takeaway from the World AI Show in Mumbai earlier this month was the appetite for innovation and new technologies. On the panel I spoke on, we discussed at length areas including how non-banking financial companies (NBFC’s) can adopt AI into their current digital infrastructure; solutions to reduce time-to-decision while also providing proactive risk management; how NBFCs are overcoming digital challenges in implementing AI; and how A can help in fraud detection and loan disbursement. These are all areas I promoted during the course of the panel from the perspective of our cutting-edge AI products and services capabilities at Advance.AI.

What is the correlation between the innovations and development in Big Data Science with AI/ML platforms?

AI’s ability to work so well with Data Analytics is the main reason why AI and Big Data have become inseparable. AI and Machine Learning work together to generate new rules for Business Analytics. Problems arise, however, when the data being used is not good data. What we see very clearly in our work with customers in financial services and other sectors is that in order to benefit from superior AI, companies must use the best data available. If you feed in bad data, you will get inferior AI. Our solutions help to ensure companies are feeding in the best quality data possible.

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What kind of skills and qualities are you looking for in employees to build your AI and Big Data team? 

We are always on the lookout for ambitious Data Scientists, both in India and Southeast Asia, who are excited to develop their careers and skills in the area of Big Data and AI.

What are your predictions on the role and development of AI and Big Data for Banks and Financial Services Institutions (BFSIs)? 

We believe AI as a technology will benefit society by enabling better, faster and more personalized access to products, services, and information. Historically the attention and resources dedicated to AI development such as Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing for Southeast Asia has been lacking, and we have been focusing on that in the past three years by bringing some of the best talents from various fields together to address the needs in this part of the world. In particular, we see a need among banks and financial services institutions. Today our AI-based Computer Vision, Fraud Detection and Credit Scoring technologies deliver some of the best results against global industry benchmarks, and what differentiates us from others is our commitment to localization. We strive to invest more heavily in the R&D and innovations in the coming years to better serve our customers’ needs and grow together with them.

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Thank you, Charles! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

Charles Zhang is currently General Manager of Advance.AI Guardian, a fast-growing technology company using “AI + Big Data” to transform the financial and tech industry in Asia. Before joining Advance.AI, Charles Co-founded Xiangshui Tech, raised $10 Million venture capital funding and built the world’s first shared sleeping pod, providing self-service sleep and relaxation service and mobile healthcare to work and business professionals.

Charles received a Master of Management degree from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Tsinghua University. He authored 13 world-class publications with over 1000 citations and ten US and international patents logo

ADVANCE.AI is a data-driven financial technology company with multiple offices in the APAC region. In our quest to build a better financial world, one of our key goals is to revolutionize the credit system by creating a more holistic, accurate, and democratic alternative to existing credit scoring methods.

Advance.AI is built and backed by experienced and successful entrepreneurs and investors in Singapore, China, and US who are from top-tier schools like Stanford, CMU, UIUC, Tsinghua, Fudan, SJTU, NUS, and NTU with rich industrial experiences from Goldman Sachs, Farallon Capital, Two Sigma, Amazon, Accenture, Tencent, Baidu, and HSBC.

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