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Masayoshi Son’s Ambitious $100 Billion AI Chip Venture

ByDayne Lee

Feb 19, 2024

Masayoshi Son’s Ambitious $100 Billion AI Chip Venture

Masayoshi Son, the founder of SoftBank Group Corp, is reportedly in talks to raise as much as US$100 billion for a groundbreaking chip venture codenamed Izanagi. This venture is poised to rival industry giants like Nvidia Corp and aims to supply essential semiconductors for artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Son’s vision for Izanagi represents a significant shift in focus for SoftBank, which is scaling back its investments in startups to concentrate on strategic endeavors like this chip project.

Vision and Strategy

Son envisions Izanagi as a pivotal venture that complements the chip design capabilities of Arm Holdings plc, a subsidiary of SoftBank. By establishing a formidable AI chip powerhouse, Son aims to leverage the potential of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and revolutionize various industries. The project, named after the Japanese god of creation and life, underscores Son’s long-standing belief in the transformative power of AI.

Funding and Partnerships

The funding for Izanagi is expected to involve a combination of SoftBank’s capital and contributions from institutions, potentially in the Middle East. While negotiations are ongoing, the sheer scale of this investment would make it one of the largest in the AI arena to date, surpassing Microsoft Corp’s recent investment in OpenAI. Details regarding the allocation of funds and potential partners are still being worked out.

Strategic Importance of AI Chips

In recent years, the demand for AI-enabled technologies has surged, driving the need for advanced semiconductor solutions. Son’s ambitious chip venture aims to address this demand by developing cutting-edge AI chips capable of powering next-generation applications across various sectors. By challenging industry leaders like Nvidia, SoftBank seeks to carve out a significant presence in the rapidly evolving AI chip market.

Collaboration and Expertise

Son’s pursuit of AI-related investments is complemented by Arm’s expertise in chip design. Rene Haas, CEO of Arm, is reportedly advising Son on the Izanagi project, highlighting the collaborative effort between SoftBank and its subsidiary. Haas’ insights and guidance play a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of the venture and ensuring its alignment with industry trends and technological advancements.

Son’s Vision for AGI

Son’s unwavering enthusiasm for AGI underscores his belief in its transformative potential. Despite the uncertainties surrounding the timeline and specifics of AGI development, Son remains convinced that AGI will become a reality within the next decade. His steadfast commitment to advancing AI underscores his visionary approach to technological innovation and his determination to position SoftBank at the forefront of the AI revolution.

Masayoshi Son’s ambitious endeavor to establish a US$100 billion AI chip venture exemplifies his visionary leadership and commitment to technological innovation. Izanagi represents a significant step towards realizing Son’s vision of harnessing the power of AI to drive transformative change across industries. As negotiations progress and partnerships are forged, SoftBank’s foray into the AI chip market is poised to reshape the future of semiconductor technology.

Featured image credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi via Getty Images

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.