PM Lee Hsien Loong meets Apple and Facebook honchos to find out how their tech can help Singapore's smart nation journey

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Feb 13, 2016. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Feb 13, 2016. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan previews an Oculus virtual reality headset and controls on a visit to Facebook in Silicon Valley. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met the chiefs of tech companies and tried out some cool technology on his second day in Silicon Valley.

He met Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Mr Zuckerberg gave Mr Lee a cube with photos from his Facebook page etched on the sides.

Mr Lee wrote: "Met Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Tim Cook (Apple) today to find out what new things they are doing, and how their technologies can help our Smart Nation journey."

He also had lunch with the heads of technology firms with a presence in Singapore, including Dan Schulman (Paypal), Steve Mollenkopf (Qualcomm) and Gary Dickerson (Applied Materials).

On his visit to Facebook, Mr Lee tried out a virtual reality headset in an Oculus Toybox demo. Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

He also met Singaporeans working at Facebook.

"Met Singaporeans working in Facebook. What do they miss about Singapore? Our food!" he said.

Besides sharing photos of his day, PM Lee posted a 360 video of his stroll in Facebook's rooftop garden.

Viewers can get a 360-degree view of where a video was taken by clicking and dragging on the screen of their computer, or by tilting their smart phones.

Currently on a week-long working trip to the United States, Mr Lee earlier met Google heads Sundar Pichai and Eric Schmidt, and Tesla and Space X chief executive Elon Musk.

He took a spin in a Google self-driving car and in a Tesla electric car.

He and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will head for the Sunnylands estate, also in California, for a special US-Asean summit next week.

Dr Balakrishnan, who also met Mr Cook and Mr Zuckerberg, said that Singaporeans working at Facebook are "awed by its open and transparent culture, and sense of collective ownership".

He wrote on Facebook: "We must continue to adapt from best practice worldwide to nurture the best talent - especially our own homegrown talent!"

The Minister, who oversees Singapore's Smart Nation initiative, was impressed with Oculus' virtual reality technology.

"Facebook is obviously planning to augment social interactions in a profound way. Watch this space!" he wrote on Facebook.

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