India's Reliance partners with Nvidia to build large language model

Reliance Industries' Jio Platforms has partnered with GPU giant Nvidia to work on building a large language model that is trained on India's diverse languages, the two firms said Friday, as the largest Indian corporate firm expands into the fast-growing but locally uncontested space.

The companies will also work together to build an AI infrastructure that is "over an order of magnitude more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in India today," they said, without sharing a time frame. Reliance said the cloud infrastructure would provide accelerated computing access to researchers, developers, startups, scientists, AI experts and others throughout India.

As part of the deal, Nvidia will equip Jio with comprehensive AI supercomputer solutions -- Nvidia GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip and Nvidia DGX Cloud -- as well as frameworks for crafting advance AI models. Jio, in turn, will be responsible for the management of the AI cloud infrastructure and will also handle customer interactions and access.

“We are delighted to partner with Reliance to build state-of-the-art AI supercomputers in India,” said Nvidia chief Jensen Huang, who met several local entrepreneurs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent India visit. “India has scale, data and talent. With the most advanced AI computing infrastructure, Reliance can build its own large language models that power generative AI applications made in India, for the people of India.”

India, despite being the world's most populous country, has yet to make a significant mark in the global AI arena. Most Indian startups and established local companies have primarily focused on developing applications using large language models created by organizations like OpenAI. Elsewhere in the world, companies and countries are racing to secure the highly sought-after Nvidia chips to power their own large language models.

Reliance, whose biggest revenue driver is its oil business, has expanded to numerous sectors in the past decade, including telecom and video streaming, as it has sought to diversify its empire. Jio Platforms -- backed by Meta, Google, Qualcomm and Intel -- is increasingly also positioning itself as the technology distribution partner for many global giants. It maintains a 10-year deal with Microsoft to launch cloud data centers and resell many business offerings, and just last month the firm deepened its collaboration with Netflix.

“As India advances from a country of data proliferation to creating technology infrastructure for widespread and accelerated growth, computing and technology super centres like the one we envisage with Nvidia will provide the catalytic growth just like Jio did to our nation’s digital march,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, in a statement.

Nvidia said separately it has partnered with India's Tata Group to train 600,000 employees at the consultancy firm TCS with advancements in AI and build AI infrastructure with Tata Communications.

Industry insiders attribute India’s dearth of AI-first startups in part to a skills gap among the nation’s workforce. The advent of generative AI could displace many service jobs, analysts warn.

“Among its over 5 million employees, IT in India still has a high mix of low-end employees like BPO or system maintenance. While AI isn’t at the level of causing disruptions, the systems are improving rapidly,” Bernstein analysts wrote in a report this year.

In response to it, New Delhi has said that India will not regulate the growth of AI, taking a different approach from many other countries.