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Alibaba/Apple

APPLE ON FINE CHINA: At the Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference, there were hints of a potentially massive partnership between Chinese monolith Alibaba (which recently raked in $25 billion in IPO money) and Apple. Said Alibaba head Jack Ma, “I hope we can do something together,” as long as it was a mutually beneficial “marriage.” A blissful match, one assumes, would give Ma access to Apple’s reported 800 million active iTunes user accounts. Ma’s allusion to matrimony may have been highly provisional, but Tim Cook, for one, is shopping for a ring. Apple has virtually no traction in China currently, and is fully eclipsed by Asian electronics powerhouses. Alibaba’s digital payments service, Alipay, has 300 million active users, Ma divulged at WSJD, and if Apple’s freshly launched Apple Pay could get into that lane, its gadgets, downloads and services would have instant access to the world’s most ginormous market—even a tiny fraction of which could have a seismic impact on global entertainment revenues. Ma and Cook are said to have met this week; if they partner up, the ripples will be felt everywhere. Could they trigger the apocalypse? The 60 Minutes Overtime clip above will give you an idea of what makes Jack Ma tick; it's clear that he's one extremely sharp cookie. (10/29a)

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