Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, is reportedly in the process of raising billions of dollars for a groundbreaking chip venture. According to Bloomberg News, Altman plans to utilise these funds to establish a global network of factories dedicated to manufacturing semiconductors. Citing individuals familiar with the matter, the report highlights Altman’s discussions with multiple major investors as he seeks the substantial capital required for the fabrication plants, commonly known as fabs.
The ambitious project aims to collaborate with leading chip manufacturers, ensuring the network of fabs spans across various locations worldwide. However, the undertaking of chip manufacturing comes at a steep price. Apart from the exorbitant funding required, the process demands significant quantities of natural resources. Moreover, as technology progresses to accommodate the production of chips for artificial intelligence applications, costs have been steadily increasing.
Among the potential partners engaged in talks with Altman are Abu Dhabi-based G42 and Japan’s SoftBank Group. It is worth noting that a comprehensive list of involved partners and funders has not yet been established, indicating that negotiations are still in the early stages. The report specifically mentions discussions with G42, which OpenAI previously partnered with in October of last year. These discussions primarily revolved around raising an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion, although the current status of these talks remains unclear.
In addition to G42 and SoftBank, Altman has also explored potential collaborations with industry giants such as Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), and Samsung Electronics. As of now, OpenAI, SoftBank, Intel, TSMC, G42, and Samsung have not provided any official comments in response to Reuters’ requests. Microsoft, who declined to comment, has been approached by Altman regarding the chip venture, and the report suggests that the software giant has shown interest.
Altman’s return to OpenAI in November, following an unexpected ousting that reverberated throughout the tech industry, has been marked by his unwavering dedication to the chips project. Bloomberg reports that he had been actively involved in advancing the endeavor until his temporary departure, after which he resumed his efforts upon his return. Notably, Altman has also engaged in discussions with Microsoft about the plan, further highlighting the software giant’s potential involvement.