Utah Gov. Huntsman, widely believed by reasonable people (i.e. not Republican wingnuts) to be the Republican's best hope for a credible alternative to Obama is going to be the next ambassador to China.
This is a win for both of them. Huntsman gets to be out of the country during the GOP Civil War, burnishing his foreign policy resume and doing something important (Ambassaor to China is akin to ambassador to the USSR during the Cold War).
Obama takes a key potential rival out of the picture for 2012. It's highly unlikely that Huntsman wouldtake this job from Obama and then turn around and come back to run against him. Plus being in China is not the place to make domestic political contacts.
But most importantly, it allows Huntsman to sit out the GOP nastimess. It allows him to leave Utah as a beloved and popular governor (at the top, so to speak).