Zuckerberg meets LG, Samsung chiefs in Seoul as Meta ramps up AI ambitions

In this photo provided by LG Electronics, its CEO William Cho, from left, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and LG COO Kwon Bong-seok pose for a photo after their meeting at LG Twin Towers headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Zuckerberg discussed cooperation on extended reality (XR) devices with LG Electronics executives on Wednesday, as he visited South Korea for the first time in about 10 years. (LG Electronics via AP) (Uncredited)

SEOULMeta CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed cooperation on extended reality devices with LG Electronics executives on Wednesday as part of his visit to South Korea that highlights Meta's ambitions in artificial intelligence.

South Korea is the second leg of Zuckerberg’s three-nation Asian tour that observers say is meant to discuss partnerships with tech powerhouses and forge good relations with business and government leaders in the region. He already visited Japan and will travel to India later this week.

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On Wednesday, Zuckerberg met LG Electronics CEO William Cho for two hours to talk about business strategies for extended reality — known as XR — device development, LG said in a statement.

While experiencing Meta’s latest virtual-reality headset, the Quest 3, and Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, Cho “expressed a keen interest in Meta’s advanced technology demonstrations, notably focusing on Meta’s large language models and its potential for on-device AI integration,” the LG statement said.

LG is ramping up its strategic collaboration with Meta, aiming to expedite its XR ventures, it said. XR includes augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and other related technologies.

Later Wednesday, Zuckerberg met Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, according to local media. He is scheduled to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday.

“Meta already collaborated with high-end sunglasses brand Ray-Ban to launch smart glasses last year. Just like this, Meta could possibly want to introduce their XR technology to a worldwide customer base of a global consumer electronics maker like LG,” said Kim Yang Paeng, a technology analyst at the Korea Institute of Economics and Technology.

Kim said Zuckerberg will also likely talk with Samsung about producing Meta-exclusive chips to ease its reliance on the AI chip market-dominant NVIDIA.

Zuckerberg's visit to Asia comes as Meta ramps up its efforts in artificial intelligence amid a race involving technology firms OpenAI, Google and Microsoft. In a Instagram reel in January, Zuckerberg said that it was Meta's “long term vision to build general intelligence, open source it responsibly, and make it widely available so everyone can benefit."

Meta is building massive compute infrastructure — equivalent to 600k NVIDIA H100 GPUs' worth — to support its artificial intelligence plans as it begins training its Llama 3 generative AI model, he said in the reel. Generative AI models like OpenAI's ChatGPT, Microsoft's Copilot and Meta's Llama 3 are artificial intelligence systems that can generate content based on user prompts.

Lee Tae-kyu, an expert at the Korea Economic Research Institute, said Meta would think cooperation with Samsung and LG is important as they are top-level tech companies outside the United States. Samsung and LG, on the other hand, would also highly value partnerships with Meta, whose products target customers around the world.

During his visit to Tokyo, Zuckerberg met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and later told reporters: “We had a good productive conversation about AI and the future of technology, and I am really excited for the work that is happening here in Japan.”

He was in Japan with his family for a trip that mixed business with pleasure. He went skiing with his family, visited a McDonald’s outlet and learned how swords are made at a swordsmiths near Tokyo.

During his visit to India, he will attend a wedding ceremony for the son of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, head of the oil and technology conglomerate Reliance Industries.

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Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.