SoftBank to establish AI chip company

Last year, Arm Holdings submitted its filing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to the NASDAQ in the United States, electing to trade under the ticker symbol “ARM.” The final offering price was determined to be $51 per share, with a total of 95.5 million American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) issued, valuing the company at approximately $54.5 billion. On September 14th, it officially commenced trading, marking one of the largest IPOs in the semiconductor industry’s history.

SoftBank sell Boston Dynamics

“SoftBank.” by MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2016, SoftBank Group acquired Arm for $32 billion, positioning it as a leading entity in the sector, yet the acquisition did not yield substantial benefits for SoftBank. However, Arm’s successful IPO, coupled with the surge in artificial intelligence (AI), appears to have provided SoftBank with new opportunities and aspirations. According to reports from various media outlets, SoftBank’s founder, Masayoshi Son, has initiated a project named Project Izanagi, with the ambitious goal of raising $100 billion to establish an artificial intelligence chip company to compete with Nvidia.

It is understood that this venture in AI chips will complement Arm’s offerings, heralding a new era in AI development. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether the company will rely on Arm’s Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) or how it will coexist with Arm to create generic designs for various workloads. From earlier interviews, it is evident that Masayoshi Son is highly optimistic about the prospects of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), believing it could become a reality within the next decade.

Rumors suggest that SoftBank intends to invest $30 billion, with an additional $70 billion sourced from other investors, including institutions from the Middle East, although the financial and operational details of the plan have yet to be finalized. There have been reports of discussions between Masayoshi Son and Sam Altman of OpenAI regarding collaboration in the semiconductor manufacturing sector.