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Zuckerberg’s Asia tour to range from AI to Ambani wedding party

Mark Zuckerberg is poised for a packed week in Asia, with stops in Japan, South Korea and India to work on artificial intelligence services and forge ties with business and government leaders in the region.
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 03:43 IST

Mark Zuckerberg is poised for a packed week in Asia, with stops in Japan, South Korea and India to work on artificial intelligence services and forge ties with business and government leaders in the region.

Meta Platforms Inc.’s chief executive officer, who’s been in Japan the past week to accompany his family on a ski trip, will meet with his company’s developers in Tokyo on Monday and Tuesday, according to a spokesperson. They’ll discuss the company’s Quest virtual-reality headsets and its large language model Llama, one of its efforts to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

On Wednesday, Zuckerberg plans to travel to Seoul to meet with partners, the spokesperson said, declining to elaborate further. He is tentatively scheduled to meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the details are private.

He’ll also meet Samsung Electronics Co. Chairman Jay Y. Lee to discuss cooperation in AI and LG Electronics Inc.’s CEO to talk about joint development of an extended reality headset, according to local media reports.

“Mark is in Japan for a personal trip and will also meet with a few key partners while he is here,” the spokesperson said. “As it’s been reported, Mark is planning to visit Korea briefly for a few key partner meetings.”

Samsung officials declined to comment. LG Electronics officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

Meta and Samsung have collaborated on virtual-reality headsets in the past, with Zuckerberg appearing as a special guest at the Korean company’s Unpacked event in 2016 to talk about Gear VR. The partnership came after Zuckerberg visited Seoul in 2013 and 2014, when he met Lee and toured Samsung’s key plants.

Zuckerberg is returning to Seoul as Meta is racing to compete in AI with powerful competitors from OpenAI and Microsoft Corp. to Alphabet Inc. In an Instagram reels post last month, Zuckerberg said the company’s future roadmap for AI requires it to build a “massive compute infrastructure.” By the end of 2024, he said that infrastructure will include 350,000 H100 chips from Nvidia Corp.

Zuckerberg and others have talked about aspirations for building artificial general intelligence, or AI as smart as the average human being, despite concerns about the future dangers of AGI for mankind. Samsung, for its part, has reportedly set up a new semiconductor R&D unit called the “AGI Computing Lab” in Silicon Valley to develop the next generation of chips.

After Seoul, Zuckerberg plans to travel to Jamnagar, Gujarat in western India to attend the pre-wedding celebrations of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s youngest son, Anant Ambani. The three-day festivities, which will start on March 1, will draw celebrities in business, technology and entertainment.

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(Published 26 February 2024, 03:43 IST)

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