Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries has leaned on its new partner Facebook's WhatsApp to launch a chatbot to provide answers to shareholders on its mega Rs 53,125-crore rights issue.

The chatbot, the first one rolled out for a public offering, has been developed by Jio Haptik Technologies, sources in know of the development said.

The company is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist investors in the Indian stock markets for the first time.

The AI-powered chatbot answers shareholders' queries on the Rs 53,125 crore rights issue, the largest in the history of India Inc, they said.

Replies by the chatbot are in English, while FAQ videos are in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and Bangla.

The company has more than 2.6 million shareholders while WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India.

The chatbot, which can be accessed by sending a message to +91-79771 11111, offers links to video tutorials and provides answers on topics such as important dates related to the rights issue, shareholder entitlement, trading in physical shares and sample forms.

When contacted, an RIL spokesperson declined to comment.

RIL's Rs 53,125-crore rights issue opened for subscription on May 20 and will close on June 3.

The firm's subsidiary Reliance Jio Infocomm had in April last year acquired chatbot-maker Haptik Infotech for Rs 230 crore and said it would invest another Rs 700 crore, over a period, for expansion.

Sources said all replies on the chatbot are replica of FAQs posted by lead managers to the issue on traditional channels.

A 'Hi' WhatsApp message to the Jio number +91-7977111111 activates the chatbot service. The relevant among the 75+ replies is triggered depending on what the user chooses among the intuitive questions.

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, the chatbot augments services of brokers, sub-brokers and call centres on queries of generic nature, particularly from senior citizens already comfortable with WhatsApp.

The 75+ replies include important dates, a calculator on rights entitlement and monies therefore to be paid in the initial installment, the fractional entitlement if any, how to trade the rights entitlement (trades were allowed till Friday, May 29), how to apply, payment methodologies, how to access forms or access the lead managers and the helplines.

Like humans, a chatbot is trained, at scale and 24x7, to refine its responses as it fields more questions.

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