Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, has unveiled GigaChat, a new chatbot technology that could rival Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT. The new product will be released initially in an invite-only testing mode.

The release of OpenAI's ChatGPT last year sparked a frenzy in the tech industry to bring AI to more users in the hopes of revolutionizing how people work and win business. Sberbank claims that GigaChat has an advantage over other foreign neural networks due to its superior ability to communicate more intelligently in Russian.

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The bank has been heavily investing in technology to reduce Russia's reliance on imports, which has become critically important amid Western nations' imposition of sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

The bank has an in-house R&D laboratory and actively uses Agile and DevOps approaches in its product development. Additionally, the bank has developed its own Agile methodology. These measures are part of the bank's push to become more technology-focused and innovative in the increasingly competitive market.

In 2020, Sberbank launched a range of devices and tech services, including a TV streaming box, virtual assistant and, smart speaker. With over 500 IT projects per year and 17,000 deployments per year, the bank has become one of Russia's biggest software vendors.