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SoftBank's Cloud Program: A Leap in Japan's AI Landscape

Photo by Rafael Garcin / Unsplash

Why it matters: SoftBank Corp. recently received approval from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for its "Cloud Program," part of the Economic Security Promotion Act.

This plan will provide critical support for the development of artificial intelligence (AI), which could significantly impact the technology sector.

The Key Points:

  • SoftBank's cloud program is expected to become an essential infrastructure for generative AI development.
  • The company's long-term vision includes establishing a distributed AI data center in partnership with NVIDIA.
  • SoftBank's ministry-approved plan includes the creation of a computing infrastructure for its AI-related companies and external entities such as universities, research institutes, and other companies.
  • The construction of this infrastructure will require an investment of approximately JPY 20 billion, of which the government will subsidize JPY 5.3 billion. The initiative aims to begin service as early as possible in FY2023.
  • Masataka Osaki, NVIDIA's representative in Japan, strongly supported SoftBank's project, suggesting it could stimulate significant growth in Japan's AI industry.

The Big Picture: This latest development is part of a broader strategy led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The Economic Security Promotion Act ensures a stable supply of critical goods, including the cloud program.

SoftBank's initiative could serve as a model for future AI-focused projects, influencing various sectors and promoting investment and growth opportunities.