Zuckerberg vs. Korean CEOs

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Zuckerberg vs. Korean CEOs


Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the world’s biggest social network, Facebook, is visiting Lima, Peru, where an APEC summit meeting is held. On Nov. 19, he gave a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on connectivity, his signature subject.

“If we can connect the 4 billion people who aren’t connected we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” Zuckerberg said.
After the speech, the 32-year-old CEO sat alongside the world leaders for a panel discussion on connectivity and had them wear a virtual reality device made by Facebook subsidiary Oculus VR.

Zuckerberg posted about the meeting in Peru on his Facebook page. The countless meetings and communications that are not shown on his posts would lead to Facebook’s business opportunities. Facebook connects 1.79 billion users as of the third quarter of 2016. Facebook has set up Internet.org, a non-profit organization aiming to expand affordable Internet access in developing countries, and supports Andela, a startup that helps educate software engineers in Africa.

These ventures are not merely social contribution. Facebook is making strategic investment for the new market of 4 billion people.

Facebook had significant influence on the U.S. presidential election, and the CEO is frequenting Vatican, Africa, India and China.

But to Koreans, these stories sound so foreign. As President Park Geun-hye is to be investigated by prosecutors, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-an attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The companies that went to APEC with the president are not in attendance this year. The heads of seven major companies who sat with the president face to face in July, 2015 have been summoned by the prosecutors. We have a long way to go until the special prosecutor’s investigation and parliamentary inspection are completed. Obviously, the owners would not prioritize company management, as they are busy reporting to the calls of the prosecutors and the National Assembly.

Companies have reasons to be frustrated. “How can a company in Korea ignore the demands of the blue house no matter how unjust they may be?” But the companies had shown vulnerable spots, especially when it comes to the management and ownership succession. In the case of Samsung, management succession is not complete. Lotte had an ugly fight between brothers. They may have made some faults that can be used to extort money. Maybe that’s why the shadow powers demanded money so brazenly.

When a company is shaken by owner risk, it cannot recruit competent workers. And such a company cannot become an industry leader. It may just be a dream to imagine a Korean CEO discussing the future with world leaders like Zuckerberg.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 21, Page 21

*The author is an industrial news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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