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Perplexity AI Expands in Japan with SoftBank Partnership

A modern tech environment showcasing the partnership between Perplexity AI and SoftBank. The scene includes a digital interface with the Perplexity AI search engine displayed on a computer screen, featuring AI-generated search results. Beside it, a smartphone shows the SoftBank and Perplexity AI logos. Background elements include symbols representing AI technology, global connectivity, and the Japanese market, creating a professional and forward-thinking atmosphere

Perplexity AI Expands in Japan with SoftBank Partnership

After announcing a strategic partnership with SoftBank in April, Perplexity AI, the AI search engine with ambitions to challenge Google, is leveraging this deal to grow its user base and data touchpoints in Japan. Starting June 19, SoftBank and its mobile operations, Y!mobile and LINEMO, will offer free, one-year subscriptions to Perplexity’s premium tier, Perplexity Pro.

Strategic International Expansion

This initiative underscores Perplexity’s international ambitions and its strategy to generate revenue from its paid tier. It also highlights the motivations of mobile carriers like SoftBank to attract users interested in AI without having to build their own AI models and services. By partnering with AI companies, carriers can potentially increase their customer base and revenues while exploring collaborative opportunities for future AI-driven services.

Other Partnerships and AI Focus

Perplexity is not solely partnering with SoftBank. The startup has also secured a partnership with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, announced simultaneously with the SoftBank deal in April 2024. It is unclear whether either carrier is investing directly in Perplexity through these deals, but SoftBank has been actively focusing on AI.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has shown interest in various AI startups, and founder and CEO Masayoshi Son is working on a $100 billion AI chip venture. Additionally, SoftBank has been linked as a potential buyer for the UK-based AI chip company Graphcore and has launched its own Japanese-language Large Language Model venture, SB Intuitions, to further its AI ambitions.

Perplexity’s Features and Funding

Perplexity Pro allows users to choose from the latest large language models (LLMs) to enhance their search queries. This subscription service offers advanced features, including high-quality image generation based on search histories and a chat-based AI profile that customizes search results. The service is available in web browsers and applications, and Perplexity is working on revenue-sharing deals to address concerns from publishers about crediting work in answers.

The iOS version of Perplexity Pro is priced at 3,000 yen per month and 30,000 yen per year, while the web version costs $20 per month and $200 per year.

In April, Perplexity closed a $62.7 million funding round, doubling its valuation to $1 billion within three months. The company is currently raising additional capital, aiming for at least $250 million at a valuation between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. Its investors include Bezos Expeditions, IVP, NEA, Sequoia, Nvidia, and Databricks, among others.

Revenue and User Base Expansion

Perplexity’s partnership with SoftBank and other carriers reflects a broader strategy to grow its user base and explore new revenue streams. The deal with SoftBank allows Perplexity to tap into the Japanese market, offering advanced AI search capabilities to a wider audience. This move is part of Perplexity’s broader effort to compete with major players like Google by providing more personalized and efficient search experiences.


Perplexity AI’s strategic partnership with SoftBank marks a significant step in its international expansion, providing Japanese users with access to its advanced AI search engine. By offering free subscriptions through SoftBank’s mobile operations, Perplexity aims to attract a larger user base and explore collaborative opportunities with carriers. As Perplexity continues to raise funds and develop its technology, it positions itself as a strong competitor in the AI search engine market.