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OpenAI’s Altman in talks to raise funds for chips, AI initiative: Wall Street Journal

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is in talks with investors, including the UAE, to raise funds for a tech initiative to boost the world’s chip-building capacity and expand its ability to power AI, among other things, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday (Feb 8).

The project could require raising as much as US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion, the report added, citing people familiar with the matter.

OpenAI and its biggest investor Microsoft did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Altman’s fundraising plans are aimed at solving constraints to OpenAI’s growth, including the scarcity of artificial intelligence (AI) chips required to train large language models behind systems such as ChatGPT, the WSJ reported.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has forecast a 13.1 per cent jump in global chip sales to US$595.3 billion this year, compared with a drop of about 8 per cent in sales in 2023.

The amounts Altman has discussed are outlandishly large by the standards of corporate fundraising, the report added.

Investors have valued OpenAI at more than US$80 billion.

As part of the talks, Altman is pitching a partnership between OpenAI, investors, chip makers and power providers, which together would put up money to build chip foundries that would then be run by chip makers, the report said, adding that much of the effort could be funded by debt and the discussions are in its early stages.

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