If an up-and-coming Chinese company has its way, you might soon buy your computer and your car from the same manufacturer.
The last name you'd expect
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal described how Microsoft, Intel
The first time most of us heard of this tiny, future Chinese automotive superpower, I suspect, was when Warren Buffett -- at Charlie Munger's urging -- famously deployed Berkshire Hathaway's
Is Wang truly a genius? A visionary? Or just clinically insane? I mean, established computer makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard will already have their hands full trying to catch up with Apple's iPad momentum in the tablet arena. What hope does a battery maker, or even an upstart automotive magnate, have?
A brave new world
Quite a lot, I suspect. As technology accelerates, cars -- which began as complex, specialized machines, powered by controlled explosions of petroleum products and maneuvered by a system of interlocking parts -- are evolving more into appliances powered by electricity, and maneuvered according to the instructions of their on-board computers. (This isn't necessarily always a good thing. For example, Toyota is discovering that its "sudden acceleration" problem would be a lot simpler to fix if it stemmed from a simple mechanical defect, rather than the software glitch that seems to be the culprit.)
As companies like BYD, Ford
In that light, why wouldn't BYD manufacture any appliance with good growth potential -- whether it's a computer or a car? Given BYD's basis in batteries, a tablet PC actually makes a lot of sense, provided the company can make breakthroughs that increase mobile computers' battery life.
Everything's converging, and everything's changing. Investing in this new landscape will be one heck of a fun ride.