SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son wants to raise $100bn for a fresh AI chip venture

SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son is making the next move in his far-reaching artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, fundraising $100 billion for a new chip venture.

The Softbank founder has long since been clear about the company’s focus on AI, with SoftBank chief financial officer Yoshimitus Goto also telling the Wall Street Journal that the company was “getting ready to go on the offensive with the AI revolution on the horizon” last year. Now, a new AI chip venture appears to be the next link in the chain.

Reportedly dubbed the codename of Izanagi, the new venture would see Softbank collaborate with Arm, the chip design company that SoftBank made a public company last year, although still owning a 90% share.

Bloomberg reports that Softbank plans to pull in roughly $70 billion from Middle Eastern investors while providing the remaining $30 billion itself. The goal for the venture is to grow Arm to be able to compete with Nvidia, the current global leader when it comes to AI chip production.

However, with more and more AI applications appearing every day it seems, there’s an ever-expanding market for AI chips – something that Masayoshi Son wants to cash in on. New innovations mean that there’s also space for fresh competition, whether that means like-for-like GPUs, unique approaches to GPUs, or an entirely new processing approach.

Softbank and its AI push

While this strategy is forward-thinking in so far as AI is a future-proofed industry, it’s somewhat reactive from Softbank. The company needs a way to replenish its profits after reporting a $32 billion loss with one of its arms in 2023.

However, Arm has been one of its more profitable areas since then, making smartphone chips for Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, specializing in the design and integration of large language models. Gains from both Arm and Vision Fund saw Softbank post its first quarterly profit for the last quarter of 2023, marking the end of almost three years of straight losses for every quarter of the year.

Featured image: Pexels

Rachael Davis

Freelance Journalist

Rachael Davies
has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on Muck Rack or follow her on social media on X.

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