OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, is in talks with Middle Eastern investors and chip contract manufacturers to establish AI chip production line. The agenda of this project is to cater to OpenAI’s growing requirements for AI training and operational chips while minimizing dependency on NVIDIA.
Implementing this ambitious project, Altman has already discussed the proposal with top investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, one of Abu Dhabi’s most influential and wealthy individuals. The project encompasses the design and production of microchips needed for AI model training and operations. Evidently, Altman has also been in talks with TSMC, regarding chip production partnerships. As backup, contract manufacturers may include Samsung and Intel.
Sheikh Tahnoon, a younger brother to the UAE’s ruler and his security advisor, oversees a rapidly growing business empire. He chairs the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), with assets approximated at $800 billion, and the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, ADQ. Additionally, he seats the executive position in the International Holding Company, UAE’s most extensive public company, and AI-dedicated firm G42, which already collaborates with Microsoft and OpenAI.
A vast financial backing is needed in chip design and production, which is an exceptionally costly process. Even though the exact amount Altman plans to raise is unknown, it is anticipated that he will need billions of dollars to challenge NVIDIA’s nearly $1.5 trillion market capitalization.
The AI and AI chip sector has grown exceedingly relevant in the past year, with NVIDIA’s Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) being essential for the industry’s steady growth. They are highly sought after by tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.
AI developers like OpenAI employ thousands of accelerators for the operation and training of their large AI language models. OpenAI is currently working on the new version of their AI model, which is expected to be revealed within the year as a significant update to the current GPT-4 model. Each upgrade to the neural network intensifies OpenAI’s reliance on chip manufacturers, especially NVIDIA, the most significant AI chip supplier.
This dependency has driven Sam Altman to seek investors for the production of their chips. However, it remains unclear whether the new venture will function as an OpenAI subsidiary or a separate entity. Nevertheless, according to reliable sources, OpenAI will likely be the primary client of the new chip-maker.