Nvidia boss christened the Taylor Swift of tech

Annabelle Liang,Business reporter

Reuters Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang poses for a selfie with members of the media at COMPUTEX forum in Taipei.Reuters

Mr Huang was a draw for attendees of Taiwan’s Computex event

These days, wherever Jensen Huang goes, adoring crowds chant his name and scramble for selfies and autographs.

The chief executive of Nvidia has nothing short of rock star status and during a visit to Taiwan this week, it was on full display. He posed for countless pictures and even scrawled his name on a woman’s top, just below her cleavage. It was pure “Jensanity” as locals put it.

His peers know the kind of fan frenzy that Mr Huang can stir. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described him as “like Taylor Swift, but for tech”.

The bespectacled 61-year-old with grey hair dresses the part. He has made the black leather jacket his signature style.

Mr Huang is at the forefront of a technology boom as Nvidia is the world’s leading designer of artificial intelligence (AI) chips.

Earlier this week, Nvidia’s market value surged past $3tn (£2.3tn). With that, the firm overtook Apple as the second most valuable company in the world on Wednesday, before pulling back on Thursday.

Shares of Nvidia are also up by more than 200% over the last year.

“He is literally being treated like a rock star,” says technology analyst Bob O’Donnell.

“Nvidia’s last big conference in San Jose was in a stadium. It was jam-packed and huge lines of people couldn’t get in. It was like a rock concert,” Mr O’Donnell said.

“This time, he spoke in a sports stadium in Taiwan. I joked that he was on his arena tour.”

Getty Images Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia, speaks during a news conference in Taiwan.Getty Images

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang

Nvidia, which is headquartered in California, was originally known for making the type of chips that process graphics, particularly for computer games.

Mr Huang co-founded the company in 1993. The company eventually changed its focus to AI, which it currently dominates.

Interest in AI peaked after the 2022 launch of ChatGPT, which was made possible by Nvidia chips.

The chatbot was trained using 10,000 of Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs), clustered together in a supercomputer.

This success helped propel Nvidia to the elite club of US companies worth at least $1tn last May, joining the likes of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft.

Although Microsoft is still the world’s most valuable listed company, Nvidia is not far behind.

In Asia, its success has boosted Taiwanese chipmaking giant TSMC, the sole production partner for Nvidia’s most advanced AI chips. Shares of TSMC hit a record high on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Thursday.

A ‘casual, approachable energy’

Mr Huang credits his wife and daughter for his love of leather jackets. A spokesperson from Nvidia says he has been wearing the classic outerwear for more than two decades.

His latest pick, an embossed biker jacket from American fashion house Tom Ford, retailed for almost $9,000.

He has kept it on even during appearances in tropical countries like Singapore.

“Leather jackets can signal an edge: a willingness to break rules, do things differently and challenge the status quo,” says fashion stylist Sera Murphy.

“Jensen’s signature style gives him a casual, approachable energy,” she adds.

A signature style is not uncommon for technology CEOs.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs almost always wore the same outfit – a black St. Croix mock turtleneck sweater, blue Levi’s 501 jeans, and New Balance 991 trainers.

Mr Zuckerberg is known for wearing plain sweaters and t-shirts from luxury fashion brands. Last March, he posted a photo of himself and Mr Huang swapping jackets.

Mark Zuckerberg Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang.Mark Zuckerberg

Some technology entrepreneurs are known for having distinct styles

Ms Murphy says “uniform dressing” can help entrepreneurs create an image of stability around their companies.

“People need consistency from leaders. Dressing in a uniform makes things predictable in a market that is volatile and unpredictable,” she added.

Mr O’Donnell expects Mr Huang to continue making appearances at events around the world.

“At technology conferences, everyone wants Jensen on stage and he’s happy to join. What he has done makes him appear everywhere. He’s positioned himself as the figurehead of generative AI,” Mr O’Donnell says.

“The issue is the industry does not like monopolies. Nvidia has a huge market share, but competitors like AMD and Intel are starting to catch up,” he added.

“Jensen sees this opportunity to build on Nvidia. He’s obviously enjoying the moment. In Taiwan, he’s also the local boy done good. That is something people can rally around.”

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