Pisney Dixar?

Back in the Hutong
Nursing a really gross case of Sinusitis.
1420 hrs.

Amid all of the coverage coming out of the U.S. on Disney’s annexation of animation studio Pixar is speculation about how the musical chairs issue among the executives will play out, what will happen if the next film is a flop, how long before Jobs becomes kommandant of Mouseschwitz, and whether the colors of the Disney logo will change to rainbow.

You know, the usual sorts of things reporters write about when 500 other reporters have covered the story before them, their editors are banging on them to run something, and they need to come up with a different angle just to be different.

It’s a genuine shame our perspective-challenged media hasn’t yet asked the newly combined company “so, guys, what about the quarter of the planet that neither of you has much impact on?”

It’s probably a good thing, too, because some embarrassing answers would come out.

The truth is, none of the executives involved in this merger a) understand China, b) have business that are doing all that well here, and c) appear to even care very much if China exists except when they’re traveling in the region. Recall that:

  • Pixar has no presence in China. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Of course, to the guys in Emeryville, the phrase “far east” probably makes them think about Stockton, or Merced.
  • Apple (peripherally involved) who just replaced their local leadership AGAIN, has so consistently lost brilliant opportunities in China over the past 15 years that I wonder if ANYONE in business, government, or the media take them at all seriously. Now remember – I say this as a near-fanatic Mac user and evangelist. We have 3 Macs and 2 iPods and swear by The Gospel According to Stephen. But Apple China is a tiny operation, there is no Apple store in China, and no Mac ads anywhere. This is, of course, despite having an OS that handles Chinese characters (and installs in Chinese) brilliantly, a loyal following, and people with the ability to spend. Jobs doesn’t get China. Full stop.
  • Disney? Some good progress recently, but Bob Iger proved himself a pretty broken China hand when, after having just opened Disneyland Hong Kong alongside Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong, he told Keith Bradsher of the New York Times that unless the Chinese government started granting Disney some TV access, there would be no Disneyland Shanghai. Nice job, Bob. I’m sure that scared the hell out of the guys in Beijing. You tough guy, you.

So forgive us, dear American cousins, for not managing much more than a passing glance at this latest megamerger.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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