Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq:FB), donned a black suit for a 30-minute meeting Tuesday with South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, to discuss encouraging venture capital companies in South Korea.
Zuckerberg acknowledged South Korea as a key market for Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal, and said that his company will continue to invest in the country. He also expressed hope that small businesses and venture firms in South Korea will use Facebook as a platform to do business.
Since assuming office in February, Park has put technological innovation at the heart of her drive for a “creative economy," the Financial Times reported, and has been meeting with Silicon Valley’s leading names for inspiration. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google’s Larry Page both visited in April.
Manufacturing companies such as Samsung (KRX:005935) and Hyundai (KRX:005380) have been driving South Korea’s rapid economic development, but the country lacks a global reputation for excellence in the services sector.
In order to encourage technological innovation, the new administration has promised measures including tax breaks for investments in venture companies and increased public loans for entrepreneurs, according to the Financial Times.
South Korea shows signs of strong potential in software and social networking. The country is self-sufficient in search, with local engine Naver, owned by parent company NHN (KRX:035420). The same company also owns Line, a popular social messaging mobile app.
The country also has Cyworld, a social networking site launched in 1999, which quickly become an enormously popular domestic ally. However, the website has been declining in popularity, especially after Facebook’s entry into South Korea in 2009.
After meeting with President Park, Zuckerberg also met with executives of Samsung Electronics Co., including Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, for which the founder of Facebook changed back to his signature gray hoodie, according to the Financial Times.