Naspers Plunges into the Exhilarating World of Artificial Intelligence

Naspers (JSE: NPN), the South African multinational internet, technology, and multimedia conglomerate, has declared that artificial intelligence (AI) has become its foremost priority and primary investment area. In an interview with Business Day, CEO Bob van Dijk stated that AI has risen to the top of their agenda in the past year, surpassing other key company priorities. 

2023 has witnessed an exponential surge in AI investments and visibility, mainly driven by the remarkable success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT since its launch in November 2022. The advanced chatbot has already garnered immense popularity, achieving unprecedented user adoption and surpassing the growth rates of renowned social media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. With a staggering user base of 100 million, ChatGPT has established itself as a dominant player in the industry. Consequently, major technology giants like Microsoft, Google, and Nvidia compete intensely to maintain their leadership positions. 

Naspers and its international unit, Prosus, are determined to stay caught up in the AI race. Van Dijk revealed that the group had been collaborating with OpenAI for several years, even before the public release of ChatGPT. As a result, they have witnessed the remarkable capabilities of large language models firsthand and recognize their revolutionary potential. 

In its latest annual report, Naspers emphasizes its increasing focus on “AI-by-design,” which involves integrating AI technologies and expertise to drive operational improvements and revolutionize its business practices. By incorporating AI into the earliest stages of development and making it a core aspect of the company’s process for exploring, designing, developing, deploying, and improving platforms, products, and services, the group aims to future-proof its business. 

Several prominent mega-cap US tech titans already experienced significant comebacks with the help of AI after a challenging period in 2022. Microsoft’s association with ChatGPT and a $10 billion investment in OpenAI have garnered favour from the investment community, resulting in a bullish rally for the company’s stock this year.

Over the past decade, Naspers has transformed into an internet giant, relying on e-commerce to drive its business. Van Dijk foresees opportunities for new companies that embrace AI quickly, outpacing incumbents and creating a competitive landscape. Amidst the ever-evolving AI landscape, Naspers has already invested in early-stage generative AI and AI-native companies that show potential for significant growth. 

Naspers’ businesses embrace AI with open arms, investing in this transformative technology. Tencent, Naspers’ most significant investment, holds its cards close to its chest, keeping the exact AI investment figures under wraps. Still, one thing is clear – Tencent is betting on AI as the driving force behind its monumental growth. 

Sources: Bloomberg, Business Live

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