Nvidia Promises Japan AI Support Amidst Heavy Demand

Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang said the company would do its best to prioritise Japan for artificial intelligence (AI) chips as the country makes efforts to bolster its capabilities in the field amidst surging worldwide demand.

“Demand is very high, but I promised the prime minister we will do our very, very best to prioritise Japan’s requirements for GPUs,” Huang told reporters on Monday following a meeting with Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida.

Nvidia is also working with Japan-based companies such as SoftBank to push forward with the development of generative AI research.

“In combination between GenAI and Japan’s expertise in manufacturing, the future of robotics could be revolutionised here in Japan,” Huang said.

Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang. Image credit: Nvidia

Domestic chip development

Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs) lead the market for AI development, a fact that has caused Nvidia’s sales and share price to soar over the past year.

Japan has been rushing to rebuild its once world-leading semiconductor industry at a time when tensions between the US and China, amongst other factors, are prompting a reorganisation of the global chip supply chain.

Japan led the world in semiconductors in the 1980s until it was hobbled by strategic moves by the US in the latter part of the decade.

The lead in the field then shifted back to the US in the early 1990s before moving to South Korean firms such as Samsung Electronics and Taiwanese chip makers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC).

GPU production

Japan recently passed an extra budget that included about 2 trillion yen ($13.6bn, £11bn) in funding for chip investment and manufacturing.

“The semiconductor industry that Japan is now starting to grow and foster will be able to produce GPUs,” said Huang.

“Countries like Japan are realising that you need to own your own data, build your own AI factories and produce your own AI intelligence.”

The Japanese budget includes support for a third TSMC factory in the country that is to focus on making high-end AI chips.

It is also expected to support chip foundry venture Rapidus, which intends to manufacture high-end chips in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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