The fortune of the chief executive of the North American chipmaker Nvidia reached US$ 34.8 billion (R$ 174.4 billion), after the value of the shares soared 25% on Thursday (25). Taiwanese Jensen Huang founded the company in 1993, now essential for the operation of generative artificial intelligences (AIs) such as ChatGPT and Bard.
Nvidia’s shares have appreciated by about 150% since the beginning of 2023. With that, the company adds US$ 940 billion (almost R$ 5 trillion) in market value.
Huang is the company’s largest individual shareholder, with 3.5% of the shares. The Forbes magazine ranking, based on public asset information, places the executive in 36th place among the world’s billionaires this Friday (26).
Nvidia launched the H100 processor in 2022, one of the most powerful ever produced. Each unit costs US$ 40,000 (R$ 200,400). Companies interested in competing in the artificial intelligence market face this price to set up the necessary infrastructure for the business.
This chip’s market debut amid rising US inflation seemed poorly timed, but it came weeks before the launch of ChatGPT in November. This allowed Nvidia to produce stock of the part to meet the high demand.
Some customers have had to wait months to gain access to a thousand H100 processors to train large language models, similar to ChatGPT.
The chipmaker has so far had the best results in capitalizing on the optimism surrounding artificial intelligence, a technology that promises to increase productivity in the world and threatens millions of jobs.
“We came from a very difficult year in 2022 to a surprising turn,” Huang told the Financial Times. The company had lost value after declines in sales of graphics processing units for notebooks.
In 2007, Huang led Nvidia’s expansion beyond the gaming industry, which enabled it to dominate the AI-focused hardware market today. Nvidia launched the graphics processing units (GPU, its acronym in English), which had other functions besides simulating complex video game graphics.
At the time, this movement weighed on the company’s accounts, but allowed the company to occupy its current position, in which it flirts with a market value of around US$ 1 trillion (about R$ 5 trillion).
Nvidia projected, in a balance sheet released this week, profits of US$ 11 billion in the second quarter of 2024, a value 57% higher than what the market expected. In the document, the company reported record earnings of $4.28 billion in the first quarter of 2023.
Analysts at Itaú BBA say the chipmaker’s calculations are accompanied by other solid performance numbers.
The company has been the most valuable in the sector since 2020, when it surpassed Intel. Today, it has almost twice the value of the second-placed among semiconductor manufacturers, the Taiwanese TMSC.
The Nvidia co-founder is the standard Silicon Valley hard-working entrepreneur, according to the Financial Times. He wakes up at 4:00 am, exercises and goes to a 14-hour work routine.
The remainder of Huang’s time is devoted to his two daughters and wife Lori, whom he met through a group project at the University of Oregon. There, the executive completed a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a precursor to a master’s degree at Stanford.
He founded Nvidia at age 30 in 1993 with two friends after they left jobs designing chips. They chose the gaming market due to the constant challenge imposed in the area of computer graphics, demanding in terms of research and implementation. Huang says in public speeches that this difficulty has moved the company forward.
Before the artificial intelligence frenzy of today, Huang led Nvidia through the different bitcoin crises recorded since 2018, which affected the company’s performance. The chipmaker’s graphics processing units speed up cryptocurrency mining. The company has been trying to break away from this market.
The devaluation of cryptocurrencies in 2018 made the famous technology investment bank SoftBank sell most of the shares it held in Nvidia. In 2020, with the optimism surrounding AI, the financial institution repurchased the company’s shares and today holds 4.35% of the shares.
At the time, Huang claimed that SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son had made amends with him to show he held no grudges.
The Nvidia co-founder almost always dresses in black, from his shoes to his shirt, under a well-moisturized dark leather jacket. He also likes sports cars — he has Ferraris, a Koenigsegg super sports car, and Mercedes.
Despite Huang’s penchant for stripped-down accessories, a friend of his told the Financial Times that Nvidia’s chief executive likes sports cars not for their speed on the track but for their cool looks. Among investors, Huang is known for looking out over a five- to 10-year horizon. He does not conjecture about trips to Mars.
With Financial Times