I won’t even to link to anything since I am not trying to slag the tech press but I find it is comical that there is not much research put in to finding out what Yahoo was doing in China.
This is how I understand it from working with that team, knowing the backstory and such.
First off – ever since Alibaba did the Yahoo China deal there really was no more consumer facing Yahoo products in China. In fact one of the longstanding beefs was Yahoo being unhappy with how Alibaba did nothing with Yahoo tech or the brand in China. They did the deal for capital mostly and tech but I don’t think Alibaba used the tech much. So it was more about the financing and the blessing it provided with Jerry being involved and all. Big turning point for Baba.
From that point on Yahoo in China was nothing really. At one point though some senior Sunnyvale execs who were close to Jerry and who had good ties to China wanted to return with their families to Beijing. So they went and opened up an R&D center but mostly I would say it was just remote engineering. In all it was mostly an experiment in that I don’t recall a lot of mainline stuff moving there but there were some big projects and the team started to become a key part of building and maintaining Yahoo’s core platform. Problem was that it was not a real a cost saving move given the inflation in China and the double whammy of also not doing any business in China.
So China was really just one of the last remote engineering orgs to go. Brazil gone. Indonesia gone. The centralization plan was back on target. Build in HQ – launch everywhere. Like a lot of big internet companies really.
So yes – they closed China. I don’t think it has any connection to a pull back in China since Yahoo is already gone from China. Now the engineers are too.
Big deal. Not.
Actually I don’t think they are all about China although they are emphasizing it more and more but somehow I don’t think they will always do that. I think they used the last keynote to highlight how far they have come in China since everyone always talks about how the valley tech companies get hosed in China. And mostly they do. Look at Google, Yahoo, Tesla and many others who have tried and have failed to go big in China. Now look at Apple. Killing it in China.
I think from here on out it will just be the norm for them. I don’t think it will have to be continually highlighted.
However I would add that the focus on China is really just a pivot to Asia in general and that is the right pivot. I find it comical when people say oh the Chinese will love that gold iPhone. Or that gold macbook. Sometimes I think the people saying this crap are the same people pontificating about Asian trends just because they eat at Panda Express a few times a week.
Folks – all of Asia is quite similar to China. I suspect more than a few rich Indonesian, Thai and Singaporean folks will be doing all they can to order a gold Apple watch to go with their gold iPhone and iPads. It just comes with the territory.
So yes – China is huge for Apple. But I know they are working hard to crack India and to make a thorough dent in SEA region as well. My guess is they only get more dominant for the time being.