South Korea's Yoon, Meta's Zuckerberg discuss AI, digital ecosystems

Meta Connect conference in Menlo Park

By Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday for talks to explore ways to increase cooperation with the U.S. company in artificial intelligence (AI) and digital ecosystems, Yoon's office said.

Yoon said South Korea's portfolio of smart home appliances, wearable devices and smart cars offered a good platform for Meta's AI technology.

The president also promised support for business tie ups and expressed hope for greater collaboration in areas like the metaverse and extended reality (XR) headsets, it said.

"The two discussed the vision for creating open AI and digital ecosystems and how to strengthen cooperation between Meta and our companies," Yoon's policy chief, Sung Tae-yoon, told a briefing.

"The president said that the Korean industry is ready to actively support what Meta has imagined and designed."

Yoon also asked Meta to play an active role monitoring and countering fake news and other malpractices on its platforms as many countries gear up for elections this year, Sung said.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, Zuckerberg met Samsung Electronics Chairman Jay Y. Lee and LG Electronics CEO William Cho to discuss potential cooperation in AI and XR technology.

Meta launched its latest mixed-reality headset, Quest 3, in June before rival Apple ramped up competition this month with its Vision Pro device.

AI chip supply and expanding ecosystems for generative AI are key priorities for Meta this year, as the company seeks to get generative AI technology into its social media products and hardware devices.

South Korea has announced measures to foster local AI development, including investments to provide text data for large language models, core AI technology and large-capacity computing resources, as well as projects to embed AI, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

South Korea will host a global AI Safety Summit in May.

Zuckerberg is on his first publicly known visit to South Korea in about 10 years, as part of an Asian tour that includes stops in Japan and India.

($1 = 1,332.6400 won)

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Ed Davies and Christian Schmollinger)