Mark Zuckerberg woos Big Tech in Asia to double down on AI chips

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Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who’s touring Asian nations this week, mentioned in a gathering with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday that Meta needs to beef up its cooperation with Samsung Electronics for AI chips to offset geopolitical danger situation in Taiwan, the place TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip producer, is headquartered.

Zuckerberg and Yoon additionally mentioned methods to develop cooperation in synthetic intelligence and prolonged actuality industries, a South Korean presidential official mentioned in a briefing as we speak (in Korean).

AI processors — the manufacturing and procurement, and the event of cutting-edge applied sciences which might be extra environment friendly than the present era of chips — have turn into a serious precedence for any firm working within the area of AI, and so too they’ve turn into a spotlight for Meta for the way forward for its social media and {hardware} units companies.

Zuckerberg reportedly met Samsung’s executives, together with Samsung govt chairman Jay Y. Lee, Wednesday evening to debate potential collaborations round AI chips, semiconductors and prolonged actuality. A Samsung spokesperson declined to touch upon Zuckerberg’s assembly with Samsung when contacted by TechCrunch for a response to the report, but additionally didn’t dispute it.

TSMC opened its first chip fabrication plant in Japan to diversify its provide chains away from Taiwan because the U.S.-China tech battle intensifies. TSMC-owned Japan Superior Semiconductor Manufacturing (JASM), which was established by the Japanese authorities and the firms in 2020, began the plant’s development course of in April 2022. JASM is set to set up its second chip plant in Japan, with development commencing in late 2024.

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Meta’s founder additionally met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday to debate AI and semiconductors. Japan has been seeking to revitalize its chipmaking industry, which is about 10 years behind Taiwan and South Korea in terms of next-generation chips.

Zuckerberg’s tour coincides with what has turn into a serious international AI chip race. Nvidia continues to dominate the worldwide marketplace for AI chips, leaving an enormous alternative for nations which have historically been sturdy in processors or need reignite their innovation instincts. That’s one thing that tech firms constructing AI companies are eager to help to ease their Nvidia dependence. To that finish, the social media large has been ramping up its efforts to secure AI chips, and has been working by itself in-house AI chip, Artemis, for its knowledge facilities. Massive tech firms like Microsoft, OpenAI, Amazon and Google have equally been scrambling for AI chips to help their AI ambitions.

Meta’s ambition on XR: Assembly with LG

The conferences as we speak are the most recent in a string of visits that the Meta CEO has been making within the area. Simply yesterday, Zuckerberg met LG Electronics CEO William Cho in Seoul throughout his tour of Asia. LG Electronics said it had a two-hour assembly with Zuckerberg to debate the 2 firms’ potential strategic collaboration on prolonged actuality (XR) gadget improvement.

When TechCrunch requested if the dialogue included concrete plans between the 2 events, a spokesperson of LG Electronics mentioned that LG Electronics and Meta “have been working carefully even earlier than the highest administration assembly yesterday,” and that the 2 firms had been anticipating extra alternatives going ahead. No particulars on monetary phrases or what merchandise particularly a collaboration would contain.

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The LG spokesperson additionally mentioned, citing the corporate CEO Cho, who advised native reporters after the assembly, “The highest administration of the 2 firms mentioned the strategic instructions and timelines of the collaboration.”

On the a part of LG, the Korean tech large needs to carry Meta’s prolonged actuality (XR) platform to LG’s content material and shopper units — for instance, its TVs — to forge a “distinctive ecosystem” within the Korean firm’s newly arrange XR enterprise, LG mentioned in a press release.

LG, like each different tech firm on the planet as we speak, is blowing the AI horn in the mean time. However realistically, it has not made many waves so far within the AI race — neither as a chipmaker, nor as a developer of AI-centric merchandise, nor in companies. Meta presents an opportunity for LG to accomplice with an organization that has made extra headway, but which doesn’t current a direct competitor to LG when it comes to its bigger shopper electronics enterprise, and furthermore offsets the dominance of another large gamers within the AI house like Google and OpenAI.

Living proof: The corporate particularly has identified that Cho “expressed a eager curiosity in Meta’s superior know-how demonstrations, notably specializing in Meta’s massive language fashions and its potential for on-device AI integration,” whereas experiencing the Quest 3 headset Meta not too long ago launched and Ray-Ban Meta sensible glasses, the corporate mentioned.

After LG shut down its struggling cell enterprise globally in April 2021, the Korean electronics and equipment large shifted its enterprise focus to different progress areas, together with sensible properties, related units, the Web of Issues (IoT), electrical car (EV) parts and robotics and — for sure — synthetic intelligence platforms.

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In late November, LG mentioned that its house leisure division had newly arrange an extended reality (XR) team as a part of the group reshuffle to expedite the event of an XR gadget, aiming for 2025.

“We’re excited to see a longtime chief in shopper electronics share our dedication to constructing the following era of XR units,” a spokesperson at Meta mentioned. “Meta’s imaginative and prescient for a extra open ecosystem is dependent upon collaboration among the many trade’s most progressive firms and we sit up for our work with LG leading to extra methods for individuals internationally to learn from the computing platforms of the long run.”

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