- OpenAI CEO plans to visit South Korea and explore potential chip manufacturing partnerships with Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix.
- The discussions may involve opportunities for collaboration in the fields of AI chips and semiconductor technology.
Seoul, South Korea – In an effort to explore potential partnerships in the semiconductor industry, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is scheduled to visit South Korea this week and meet with executives from leading chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Exploring potential collaborations
Altman’s visit is expected to focus on discussions surrounding potential collaborations in chip manufacturing, although the sources declined to disclose further details about the agenda.
Raising billions for semiconductor factory network
Last week, Bloomberg reported that Altman is actively working on raising several billion dollars for a chip company to establish a semiconductor factory network. The chip manufacturers are being considered as potential partners for this ambitious project.
Industry expertise and competition
Both SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics are known for their production of high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips used in artificial intelligence chipsets. Additionally, Samsung Electronics competes with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in contract chip manufacturing.
SK Hynix recently expressed its aim to become a “comprehensive AI memory provider” following unexpected profits in the December quarter, citing robust demand for memory chips used in artificial intelligence applications.
Altman’s strategic discussions
Altman is scheduled to arrive in South Korea later today, with plans to visit Samsung Electronics’ Pyeongtaek semiconductor factory on Friday. He intends to hold discussions with Kyung Kyun-Hyun, the head of the semiconductor division, as well as Chey Tae-Won, Chairman of SK Group. Altman will discuss potential collaboration strategies with Choi Shi-Yeong, head of foundry business, Lee Jung-Bae, head of memory business, and Park Yong-Jin, head of system LSI business. Altman concluded his visit by meeting with Chairman Chey in Seoul later that evening. An initial proposal for a meeting with Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong was also discussed; however, due to ongoing legal issues related to the unfair merger with Jeil Industries and Samsung C&T, scheduling proved challenging.
Reducing reliance on NVIDIA
According to recent reports from Bloomberg and the Financial Times, Altman is actively pushing forward with the development of OpenAI’s AI semiconductor project, aimed at reducing the market dependence on NVIDIA. He has been in contact with potential investors such as G42, an AI company based in the United Arab Emirates, as well as investors from the Middle East, SoftBank, and TSMC. Speculation suggests that Altman may seek opportunities to engage with potential investors related to the project during his visit to South Korea. Industry observers are closely monitoring whether Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix will join OpenAI’s internal AI semiconductor initiative through these meetings.
Altman’s visit to South Korea indicates OpenAI’s strong interest in establishing partnerships with leading chip manufacturers in the region. As the demand for AI chips continues to rise, collaboration between OpenAI, Samsung Electronics, and SK Hynix could potentially accelerate advancements in the field of artificial intelligence and semiconductor technology.