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China Telecom Stocks Rise Amid AI Chatbot Buzz

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By Bingyan Wang

Shares of China telecommunication majors were higher in morning trade following a report that China Telecom Corp. is developing an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, reflecting investor enthusiasm about the technology, which became popular with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, spreading to China.

China Telecom shares rose by the daily limit of 10% in Shanghai, while its Hong-Kong listed shares advanced as much as 6.9% on Monday morning. Shares of two other state-run telecom majors–China Mobile and China Unicom–gained 5.5% and 6.9%, respectively, in Shanghai.

An online portal affiliated with state-owned Shanghai United Media Group reported last week that China Telecom’s research and development to create an AI foundation model has “achieved periodic progress,” and that the company is developing what it calls an “industrial version of ChatGPT” for the telecommunications field.

Analysts from CSC Financial Co. wrote in a research note about China Telecom after the news report, “We think that the value of telecom operators’ cloud computing, communication & information networks and digitization should be re-examined.” They highlighted rich data resources, and said flexibility in coordinating computing resources can benefit AI model training.

China Telecom’s Shanghai shares are now up by more than 40% in 2023. When shares rose 8.3% on Thursday, the company told state-owned media that the Thursday’s rally was likely due to this year’s high dividend, more attention from institutional investors and growth momentum of its generically emerging business.

Investor excitement about the business potential of AI chat services has grown since the introduction of ChatGPT. Chinese tech giants including Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding recently announced that they are conducting internal testing of AI chatbots, setting off a buying frenzy for shares of both companies.

Write to Bingyan Wang at [email protected]

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