OpenAI CEO visits South Korea to meet with biz leaders

Sam Altman
Photo credit: Yonhap

Sam Altman, CEO of U.S. artificial intelligence company OpenAI, has visited South Korea to discuss ways to set up a global network for artificial intelligence (AI) chip manufacturing with key chipmakers here, industry sources said Friday, Yonhap reports.

Altman looked around the semiconductor production line of Samsung Electronics Co. in Pyeongtaek, some 65 kilometers south of Seoul, and met with Kyung Kye-hyun, who heads the chip business at the Korean company, according to the sources.

The American businessman arrived in Seoul the previous day.

Scheduled talks with SK hynix Inc. CEO Kwak Noh-jung and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won are also on the agenda during his two-day visit.

It is Altman's second visit to South Korea after his first in June last year, when he met with Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and had a conference with local startups.

Altman's recent move has been drawing attention as the businessman is seeking a new partnership in a bid to shake up the AI chip market, which the U.S. tech company Nvidia Corp. has largely dominated.

South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix are two of the few companies in the world that produce the premium high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips, tailored for AI processors. Their combined market share in the global HBM market reaches more than 90 percent.

SK hynix is providing the fourth-generation HBM3 chips to Nvidia and gearing up to mass produce the fifth-generation HBM3E.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, has both memory chip and foundry, or also called contract manufacturing, businesses.

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