Open AI Enters Japanese Market With Opening of Tokyo Office

Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence startup OpenAI has set its sights on the Japanese market, inaugurating its first Asia office in Tokyo and making a strong pitch for business opportunities in the country.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman expressed his aspirations for a long-term partnership with Japan, including its people, government leaders, businesses, and research institutions, calling this move just the initial step in what he hopes will be a fruitful relationship.

OpenAI (Credits: OpenAI)

The startup has garnered considerable excitement among consumers, especially since the launch of its ChatGPT generative AI chatbot in late 2022.

With an eye on global expansion and the exploration of new revenue streams, OpenAI is actively engaging with Fortune 500 company executives in the United States and Britain, hosting numerous meetings to present its business propositions.

The decision to establish a presence in Japan was influenced by a meeting between Altman and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last year, where Altman expressed interest in a Japan location.

In addition to its Tokyo office, OpenAI has also opened offices in London and Dublin.

OpenAI (Credits: Florence Lo)

Japan, aiming to bolster its competitiveness vis-à-vis an increasingly assertive China, is keen to leverage AI to accelerate its digital services transition and alleviate labor shortages.

Brad Lightcap, OpenAI’s Chief Operating Officer, emphasized the company’s optimism about Japan’s potential contribution, citing a backlog of demand.

OpenAI has developed a custom model optimized for the Japanese language and appointed Tadao Nagasaki, former president of Amazon Web Services in Japan, to lead its Japan business operations.

OpenAI (Credits: Rafael Henrique)

Despite Japan’s perception as a technology laggard, local companies such as telcos SoftBank and NTT are investing heavily in large language models.

OpenAI already boasts a customer base in Japan that includes automaker Toyota Motor, manufacturer Daikin Industries, and local government entities.

Microsoft, which backs OpenAI, recently announced plans to invest $2.9 billion over two years in cloud and AI infrastructure in Japan, aligning with a broader trend of significant investments by US tech giants worldwide.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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