US-based Apple named Isabel Ge Mahe, VP of wireless technologies, to the new role of VP and MD for greater China, which covers the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Mahe (pictured), who starts the Shanghai-based role later this summer, will report to CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams.
Cook said: “We are thrilled that Isabel will be bringing her experience and leadership to our China team. She has dedicated a great deal of her time in recent years to delivering innovation for the benefit of Apple customers in China.”
Mahe led Apple’s wireless technologies software engineering teams for nine years and also managed the engineering teams developing Apple Pay, HomeKit and CarPlay. In China she worked closely with Apple’s R&D team and operator partners to develop new China-specific features for the iPhone and iPad, Apple said in a statement.
The appointment comes at a time when Apple is facing sluggish sales of iPhones in China, the vendor’s second largest market after the US, and new cyber security laws requiring strict data surveillance and local storage for internet companies.
Apple’s revenue in greater China peaked at $61 billion in 2015 and dropped to $46 billion in 2016. The region was again the weak spot for Apple in calendar Q1 (the company’s fiscal Q2), with revenue dropping 14 per cent year-on-year to $10.8 billion.
The company last week announced plans to set up its first data centre in China to speed up services such as iCloud for local users and comply with the cyber security law which went into effect 1 June. The centre is part of a planned $1 billion Apple investment in the southern province of Guizhou, one of the poorer regions of China.