According to a report by The Information, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, has informed his employees that the company’s annualized revenue has reached $1.3 billion (approximately RMB 9.5 billion), with an average monthly income of over $100 million. This figure is 30% higher than three months ago and 45 times higher than the $28 million earned in 2022. 

Since the launch of the paid version of ChatGPT in February, OpenAI’s revenue growth has been significant, mainly due to the subscription volume of the conversational chatbot. According to market intelligence company Appfigures, ChatGPT has been available on the App Store since May and on Google Play since July. Since its launch, ChatGPT’s revenue has grown by double digits every month.

In September, ChatGPT earned a net income of $3.2 million from the App Store and Google Play combined, according to Appfigures. This figure represents the amount of revenue OpenAI can retain after Apple and Google take their fees. In September alone, approximately 15.6 million people downloaded OpenAI’s ChatGPT application.

In contrast, other companies in the industry are showing signs of decline. According to foreign media reports, AI speech recognition start-up Deepgram will launch its second round of layoffs this year, with a scale of up to 20% of the total number of employees. Earlier, another AI start-up Jasper AI announced layoffs and reduced revenue expectations, with both co-founders and CEO Dave and CTO resigning one after another. Not only start-ups but also Google’s artificial intelligence laboratory DeepMind is struggling. It was reported this week that its 2022 revenue fell by 21% YoY, and profits fell by nearly 40%.

Despite the significant increase in expected revenue, it is undeniable that ChatGPT’s operation and GPU requirements are expensive costs. To achieve OpenAI’s goals, Altman has privately stated that the company may try to raise up to $100 billion in funds over the next few years.

Currently, OpenAI is conducting a new round of tender offers, and external investors have the opportunity to purchase shares from employees. Investors expect that in addition to the ongoing employee acquisition offer, OpenAI will conduct another large-scale financing round as early as this year.

According to foreign media reports, Altman plans to travel to the Middle East in the second half of this year to seek financing. The financing scale is huge, but as of press time, there is still no news of Altman’s successful trip to the Middle East. In addition, after Arm went public, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son also reportedly hopes to invest billions of dollars in AI fields, with OpenAI being one of the potential investment targets.

To win developers’ favor, OpenAI may release a “hardcore move.” According to Reuters’ report citing sources familiar with the matter, OpenAI may release significant updates for ChatGPT at its first developer conference held on November 6th in San Francisco. These updates are theoretically capable of reducing software customer costs by twenty times and becoming a powerful tool for attracting users and increasing profits. Besides ChatGPT’s income source, another significant source of OpenAI’s income comes from selling API access rights for AI models directly to developers and enterprises.

At the end of September, OpenAI announced on its official website that it had launched a new version of ChatGPT that gradually deploys image and voice capabilities for ChatGPT so that it can understand users’ voices and upload images besides text interaction and respond using voice. Although the new version has made significant improvements in artificial intelligence aspects compared with early this year, its popularity among users has decreased significantly. Therefore it remains to be seen whether OpenAI can win developers’ favor with its significant update in November.

Editor: Alexander