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Meta CEO to visit Seoul next week possibly on AI partnership

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 21, 2024 - 15:52

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Yonhap)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, formerly Facebook, is planning to visit Korea as early as next week, which would mark his first visit to the country in more than a decade, according to industry sources and the presidential office on Wednesday.

Although details of his upcoming trip are unknown, sources predicted that the Meta founder could meet with Samsung Electronics Chair Lee Jae-yong, as he did during his first trip to Korea in June 2013.

If the two tycoons meet, the agenda is likely to include artificial intelligence chips and other generative AI issues.

When Zuckerberg came to Korea in 2013, the two chiefs reportedly held a seven-hour-long marathon meeting in Seoul for a partnership.

Following the meeting, the Korean tech giant launched the Samsung Gear VR platform with Meta at the time. In October following year, Lee and Zuckerberg reunited and discussed expanding their partnership.

When Samsung's late Chair Lee Kun-hee passed away in October 2020, the Meta CEO sent funeral flowers, along with an email expressing his condolences to the son, Lee Jae-yong. Zuckerberg paid tribute to the late chair, stressing his outstanding leadership.

Both Samsung and Meta officials declined to comment on the possible reunion of the two business leaders.

In the meantime, Seoul's presidential office also confirmed that Meta requested a meeting between Zuckerberg and President Yoon Suk Yeol, saying it was "positively reviewing the request" earlier in the day.

If the meeting takes place, President Yoon is expected to discuss technological cooperation in the AI and digital sectors with Zuckerberg, sources said. The US IT giant has aggressively expanded in the extended reality and online advertising sectors.

In a recent media interview, the Meta CEO pledged to build an artificial general intelligence, or AGI, and make it open source. AGI is a form of AI that possesses the ability to understand, learn and apply knowledge across a wide range of tasks.

Samsung also recently established the AGI Computing Lab, comprising a group of the world’s most talented researchers and engineers in the tech sector, in Silicon Valley, to develop the next-generation chips for AGI.