The Korea Herald


OpenAI CEO Altman visits Korea for Samsung, SK Hynix meetings: reports


Published : Jan. 26, 2024 - 21:38

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman participates in the OpenAI CEO Sam Altman participates in the "Technology In a Turbulent World" panel discussion during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 18. (AP-Yonhap)

ChatGPT creator OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, has arrived in South Korea to meet with the leaders of chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, reports said Friday.

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are the world's two biggest memory chipmakers, and the latter this week said it had returned to profit after four consecutive quarters of losses driven by demand for chips used in artificial intelligence.

The two South Korean chip giants are among the few companies worldwide that manufacture premium high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips tailored for AI processors.

Altman, who arrived in South Korea Thursday, visited the semiconductor production line of Samsung Electronics in Pyeongtaek, around 60 kilometers south of Seoul, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported citing unnamed sources.

There he met with the South Korean firm's co-CEO Kyung Kye-hyun, Yonhap added.

During the two-day visit, Altman is also set to meet with SK Hynix's CEO Kwak Noh-jung and chairman Chey Tae-won, who oversees the SK Group, of which Hynix is a part, Yonhap said.

Both Samsung and SK Hynix declined to comment on Altman's visit when contacted by AFP.

According to Bloomberg News, Altman has been actively raising billions of dollars to establish a network of semiconductor manufacturing factories.

Currently, the AI chip market is largely dominated by the Silicon Valley chip titan Nvidia, to which South Korea's SK Hynix has been supplying its HBM3 chips, a high-performing type of DRAM, since 2022.

Altman shot to fame with the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, which ignited a race to advance AI research and development, as well as billions being invested in the sector.

In November, he returned as chief executive of OpenAI days after being sacked by the board.

While OpenAI's ChatGPT is the most widely known large language model -- or LLM -- many of the other big tech firms, including Google and Facebook parent Meta, have invested heavily in the powerful AI technology -- raising concerns about its governance.

Neil Shah, vice president of Counterpoint Research, said the visit and ensuing collaboration could prove significant for the future profitability of the AI industry. "It is imperative for AI flagbearers such as Sam Altman to understand and collaborate with these semiconductor foundries to understand what will it take to bring economies of scale for the entire ecosystem and democratise AI," he told AFP. (AFP)

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