SoftBank Group set aside JPY150 billion ($960 million) to upgrade its computing infrastructure as part of a bid to create a world-class generative AI (GenAI) platform tailored to the Japanese language, Nikkei Asia reported.

Nikkei Asia reported SoftBank’s AI investment will be made over this year and next, and was allocated in addition to the JPY20 billion it spent on its computing facilities in 2023.

SoftBank plans to power its computing infrastructure with GPUs from Nvidia and it will also lease this infrastructure to other companies.

Notably, the Japanese company reportedly explored an acquisition of UK chip start-up GraphCore in 2023 to step up competition with Nvidia, but a deal did not materialise.

In February, SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son also disclosed plans to form a $100 billion chip-making venture to compete directly with the US chipmaker.

SoftBank revealed its big push around AI in 2023 following an IPO of UK chip designer Arm.

Interest in AI in Japan indeed appears to be growing. Last week, OpenAI announced Tokyo would house its first office in Asia, while Microsoft recently stated it would invest almost $3 billion to increase its cloud computing and AI infrastructure in the country.