OpenAI’s Altman wants to build multiple wafer fabs

OpenAI’s Altman wants to build multiple wafer fabs

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

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Sam Altman, the CEO of Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer OpenAI, is in talks to raise billions of dollars to build a network of wafer fabs, according to reports.

Altman is concerned that there will not be enough manufacturing capacity for AI chips in years to come, according to the reports. He has had conversations with potential investors including Abu Dhabi-based Group 42 Holding Ltd., SoftBank Group and foundry TSMC, according to reports. Microsoft is interested in the plan, according to unnamed sources referenced by Fortune magazine.

The project would also require the involvement of one or more leading-edge semiconductor companies. A single leading-edge wafer fab can cost of the order of US$10 billion and Altman’s plan is for a global network of such factories.

Whose money?

However, a US congressional committee has recommended to the Commerce Department that G42 and subsidiaries and affiliate companies be put under trade restrictions because of because of links to China and companies such as Huawai Technologies. Altman already has experience of problems taking middle-eastern money for chip ventures (see CFIUS review leads to AI startup losing Saudi backing).

Altman, is expected to meet with SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won during a trip to South Korea this week and he is reported to have held talks with TSMC.

Altman was already working on the plan when he was surprisingly sacked by the board of OpenAI in November 2023 and then reinstated. Since his reinstatement he has increasedhis efforts on the AI chip manufacturing plan, one report said.

Related links and articles:

Fortune report

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