During a five-day tour of India earlier this month, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang visited four cities, dined with tech executives and researchers, took numerous selfies, and sat for a one-on-one conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the AI sector. Huang’s India itinerary was so crammed that he confessed to surviving entire work days on spicy masala omelets and cold coffees.
Huang may have been treated like a head of state, but the trip’s purpose was all business. For Nvidia, whose graphics processors are vital to the development of artificial intelligence systems, the South Asian nation of 1.4 billion people presents a rare opportunity. As the U.S. increasingly clamps down on exports of high-end chips to China and the world seeks an alternative electronics manufacturing base, India could shape up to be a source of AI talent, a site for chip production and a market for Nvidia’s products.
At a meeting with leading researchers in Delhi, Huang spoke of re-training entire swaths of the country’s workforce and building future AI models using Indian data and talent, according to multiple attendees. Huang also told one executive in India’s tech hub of Bangalore that he’s a big believer in the country’s engineering talent, particularly graduates from its top engineering schools, the Indian Institutes of Technology.