PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

OpenAI Names Former AWS President Tadao Nagasaki to Head Japan Operations

OpenAI has tapped the former president of Amazon Web Services’ Japan operations to lead its push into that country.

Tadao Nagasaki’s appointment, announced Monday (April 15), comes as the artificial intelligence (AI) firm is opening an office in Tokyo and releasing a custom version of its GPT-4 for Japanese speakers. 

“We want to build a track record through repeated dialogue with companies in Japan,” said Nagasaki, whose comments at a news conference were reported by Bloomberg News.  

He added that the Tokyo office will have about 10 to 20 employees by year’s end. It follows other overseas operations in Dublin and London, and aims to serve the two million weekly active users OpenAI has in Japan, where its enterprise clients include Daikin, Rakuten and an affiliate of carmaker Toyota.

The news comes days after Microsoft — a major investor in and partner to OpenAI — announced it was investing nearly $3 billion in AI projects in Japan. As PYMNTS reported, the investment will help expand the company’s cloud and AI infrastructure in the country, train 3 million people in AI and set up a Microsoft Research Asia lab in Tokyo.

This will be the largest investment Microsoft has made in Japan, Nikkei reported last week, citing an interview with Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Microsoft’s infrastructure expansion will include adding advanced AI semiconductors at two sites in Japan. The company’s new lab in Tokyo will emphasize research and development into robotics and AI, allowing the country to “build on its technological strengths in many other areas,” Smith said, per the report.

Also last week, Microsoft’s new AI-focused organization, Microsoft AI, announced plans to open a new AI hub in London, working with partners like OpenAI to create language models, their supporting infrastructure and tooling for foundation models.

Elsewhere in the AI space, PYMNTS recently spoke with Javed Khan, who oversees Cisco Collaboration’s Webex product portfolio, on how the technology is transforming the work landscape and what can be expected in the years to come. 

“A commonality with most technological advancements throughout history is that they ultimately delivered a significantly better experience than before. AI will be no different,” Khan said. “In fact, we’re already seeing the benefits that AI can bring to the workplace and beyond, empowering us all to reimagine how we connect and collaborate.”

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