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Samsung chief Lee meets Meta, Amazon, Qualcomm CEOs to discuss AI

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Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong met the heads of Meta, Amazon and Qualcomm to explore business opportunities in AI and cloud computing during his recent trip to the United States.

As a part of the two-week itinerary, Lee was invited to the house of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto on June 11, local time, where the parties discussed possible cooperation in AI as well as virtual and mixed reality technology.

In the AI sector, Samsung and Meta could cooperate in producing Meta’s own microchip designed for accelerating training of AI, although Samsung declined to confirm further.

Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, left, poses with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Zuckerberg’s house in Palo Alto, California, on June 11. [SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS]

Zuckerberg mentioned the importance of Samsung as a provider of contract chipmaking that could reduce reliance on TSMC when he visited Seoul in February.

“Samsung is a foundry giant and holds an important position in the global economy, the factors that can serve as critical points in cooperation with Samsung,” the Meta CEO was quoted as saying in a statement released by Samsung Electronics on Thursday. The two leaders also held a meeting in Seoul during the February visit.

As for the mixed reality headset, Meta and LG Electronics announced a strategic partnership in February, but LG recently started scaling down the headset project due to concerns over its scalability and marketability.

Although there is no headset-related partnership publicly available between Samsung and Meta, the Korean tech giant is on track to develop a mixed reality headset in a partnership with Google and Qualcomm.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, right, poses with Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon at the office of Samsung Electronics Device Solutions America in San Jose, California, on June 10. [SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS]

Lee also discussed possible new partnerships and shared market prospects in generative AI and cloud computing with Amazon CEO Andy Jassy at the headquarters of the tech juggernaut in Seattle.

Samsung didn’t clarify areas of further partnership but did state that Amazon is a top client of its memory chip business as many of its chips are used at Amazon’s data centers.

Accompanying Lee was Vice Chairman Jun Young-hyun, who heads Samsung’s semiconductor business; President Lee Jung-bae, memory business chief; and Executive Vice President Han Jin-man, who heads the U.S. operations of the chip division.

The main agenda of the June 10 meeting with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon includes the parties’ continued cooperation in advanced chips, such as those tailored to AI, and next-generation telecommunication chips.

Qualcomm is providing Samsung with Snapdragon chips for the Galaxy series.

On the recent trip, Lee also met with Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg to discuss possible cooperation related to sales of the upcoming Galaxy smartphone line.

Discussions had during the trip will be developed into tangible plans in an upcoming meeting scheduled for the end of June, which will bring together CEOs of chip, home appliance and smartphone businesses.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]