Sam Altman seeks to raise billions for network of AI chip factories - Bloomberg News

FILE PHOTO: Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in San Francisco, California

(Reuters) -OpenAI CEO Sam Altman plans to use the billions of dollars he is trying to raise for a chip venture for setting up a network of factories that will manufacture semiconductors, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

Altman has had talks with several large potential investors in the hopes of raising the vast sums needed for chip fabrication plants, colloquially known as fabs, the report said.

The project would involve working with top chip manufacturers and the network of fabs would be global in scope, according to the report.

Manufacturing chips is expensive. They also require copious amounts of natural resources, in addition to the billions of dollars in funding. Costs have been rising over the years as technology advances to make chips used in artificial intelligence applications.

Abu Dhabi-based G42 and Japan's SoftBank Group are among the firms that have held discussions with the OpenAI boss, but the talks are still early and a full list of involved partners and funders has not been established, the report said.

The talks with G42, with which the ChatGPT maker partnered in October last year, alone had focused on raising $8 billion to $10 billion, although the current status of the discussions is unclear, according to the report.

Intel, Taiwanese chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics are potential partners for OpenAI, the report added.

OpenAI, SoftBank, Intel, TSMC, G42 and Samsung did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. Microsoft declined to comment.

Altman returned to OpenAI in November after a surprise ouster that had sent shockwaves through the tech industry.

The Bloomberg report said he had been hard at work on the chips project until he was temporarily ousted and upon his return, he rekindled the efforts. He has also sounded out Microsoft on the plan, and the software giant is interested, the report added.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shilpi Majumdar)