Samsung Speculation: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Visits South Korea

By David Cohen 

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is in South Korea to promote her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, but sources told The Korea Herald she also did some leaning in on Samsung Vice President Shim Soo-ok, with the two companies discussing a potential mobile partnership.

According to The Korea Herald, Shim was designated as Sandberg’s official Samsung counterpart for her trip.

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited South Korea in mid-June, meeting with President Park Geun Hye, and with executives from Samsung. He discussed ways to boost venture-capital investment in the country’s businesses with the president, but there was no official word on his visit with Samsung.

The speculation when Zuckerberg visited was that he was involved in talks with Shin Jong-kyun, head of Samsung’s mobile unit, over a possible Facebook-friendly phone, but according to The Korea Herald, the tone of discussions has shifted.

One source told the Korean newspaper:

This time around, it’s probably not about the phone anymore, but any other project with which Facebook can manage to catch Samsung’s eye for a mobile partnership, because Facebook is desperate.

And another source told the Herald:

The choices are pretty much laid out for Facebook: It’s either Google, Apple, or Samsung, and Google is already quite chummy with Samsung, while Apple seems to be going downhill, so the last and most rational choice was Samsung.

Readers: What do you believe will develop between Facebook and Samsung, if anything?