SEOUL – Critics slapped Bill Gates’ one-handed shake with the South Korean president in April as rude and culturally insensitive, but Mark Zuckerberg charmed the public here Tuesday with proper attire and a handshake, a slight bow included.
The Facebook CEO, 29, known for his signature zip-front hoodie and jeans, met with President Park Geun-hye to discuss South Korea’s plans to raise employment by fostering start-up and venture companies.
But issues aside, the public and media here were more focused on how Zuckerberg would extent a hand for the introduction.
Gates, 57, had shocked people here by extending a single hand and keeping the other tucked in his pocket, jacket unbuttoned. The Microsoft chairman might not have realized it, but such body language is considered rude in Asian culture, done when one is expressing superiority to the other.
South Korean TV news aired stories comparing Gates, Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Larry Page, who also visited in April, on how these high-tech global gurus differ in wardrobe and public-etiquette skills. The culturally sensitive winner by far was Zuckerberg, who dressed in a black business suit complete with a taupe tie.
Although he offered one hand for the shake with the 61-year-old Park – whereas Page, 40, offered both, the proper way – Zuckerberg’s slight bow is considered respectful to someone more than twice his age.
It hit the right spot.