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Japan's SoftBank Plans to Raise US$100 billion to Bet on AI Chips

Published: 2.28.2024

Recently, foreign media reported that Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japan’s SoftBank Group, wants to raise US$100 billion for AI chip companies. This new chip company, called Izanagi, aims to compete with NVIDIA in the field of artificial intelligence semiconductors. 


It is reported that the project will be directly led by Masayoshi Son and is named after "Izanagi", the Japanese god of creation and life, in part because it contains the initials of artificial general intelligence (AGI). If established, it will be the re-launch of major investment by SoftBank Group after shrinking its investment business, aiming to enhance the chip design capabilities of its subsidiary Arm and help SoftBank become a leader in the artificial intelligence chip industry. 


Currently, with the popularity of “generative AI” that generates text, images, and speech based on user instructions, the use of semiconductor products is expected to further expand. This large-scale investment plan also seems intended to compete with Nvidia, the American giant that leads the field. 


However, NVIDIA currently almost monopolizes the AI chip market with 80% market share, and technology giants such as Microsoft, Meta, Google, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Intel are constantly catching up. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also recently announced plans to seek US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion in funding for AI chip projects, and plans to build dozens of chip manufacturing plants in the next few years to increase global chip manufacturing capabilities.

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