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Softbank Secures ¥421B Subsidy for AI Computing Expansion

Source: Softbank

TOKYO, Japan — Softbank Corp. has been approved by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for a JPY 421 billion (US$2.7 billion) subsidy to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) computing infrastructure. 

This subsidy is part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's "Cloud Program," designed to ensure a reliable supply of critical materials by the Economic Security Promotion Act.

Softbank has announced plans to invest approximately JPY 150 billion (US$963 million) in the construction of new AI computing facilities at multiple domestic locations from fiscal year 2024 to 2025. 

The expanded infrastructure will incorporate NVIDIA's latest Blackwell architecture GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems, thereby increasing Softbank's computing capacity to 25 exaFLOPS, 37 times its current 0.7 exaFLOPS.

Softbank's subsidiary, SB Intuitions, aims to develop a 390 billion-parameter large language model (LLM) by the end of fiscal year 2024, utilizing the expanded computing infrastructure. 

Moreover, the company aspires to construct a one trillion-parameter LLM and provide services to domestic companies and research institutions.

The substantial government subsidy illustrates Japan's commitment to fostering domestic AI development and reducing reliance on foreign technology providers as global competition in the field intensifies.