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Apple has created a new role to oversee the company’s Chinese operations.

Isabel Ge Mahe, who has served as VP for Wireless Technologies at Apple since 2008, will take on the newly created position of managing director and vice president for Greater China, which also covers Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Ge Mahe, who was born in the Liaoning province in northeast China and is fluent in Mandarin, has led Apple’s wireless technologies software engineering teams for the best part of a decade, with a specific focus on developing “cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, location, and motion technologies for nearly every Apple product,” according to the company. She has also spearheaded the engineering teams working on HomeKit, Apple Pay, and CarPlay.

Specific to China, Ge Mahe has already been working closely with Apple’s R&D team and local carriers to develop features for iPhone and iPad, according to Apple.

The China conundrum

Though Apple’s shares have gone from strength to strength in recent years — an upwards trajectory that kicked off with the launch of the iPhone a decade ago — China remains a tricky market for the Cupertino company.

China was once considered the next major market Apple would dominate, but sales have slowly decayed, with local brands ruling the roost. The company posted $10.7 billion in sales in China in Q2 2017, down 14 percent year-on-year (YoY), which represented the fifth straight quarter of YoY declines in the country for Apple.

Apple continues to woo the Chinese market, however, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has always maintained that the company is optimistic about its prospects in the country.

“Apple is strongly committed to invest and grow in China, and we are thrilled that Isabel will be bringing her experience and leadership to our China team,” said Cook of Ge Mahe’s appointment, in a press release. “She has dedicated a great deal of her time in recent years to delivering innovation for the benefit of Apple customers in China, and we look forward to making even greater contributions under her leadership.”

In the iPhone’s tenth anniversary year, Apple is now ramping up efforts in what could still prove a major market for the company, a push that comes as the Chinese government is increasingly imposing restrictions on foreign companies — just last year, China banned Apple’s mobile entertainment services.

Apple knows it faces many obstacles in China in the years ahead, which is why it has created this new role. Ge Mahe will be charged with working with local lawmakers and regulators to help Apple navigate the bumpy road ahead.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to represent Apple in China and work more closely with our incredibly talented team,” said Ge Mahe. “Everyone at Apple is proud of the contributions we make to the communities where we do business, and I am looking forward to deepening our team’s connections with customers, government, and businesses in China to advance innovation and sustainability.”


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