Apple has hired a former Wall Street Journal correspondent from China to assume the post of PR Director for its Shanghai office.
Given that Apple shows such a mastery of the press, it’s no surprise to hear that it’s used to picking the cream of the tech-reporting media crop to work in its PR roster. Wei Gu falls into this category — even if her new role comes at a challenging time for Apple in China.
Hyped by Tim Cook as Apple’s future biggest market, Apple has increasingly butted heads with the Chinese government as of late. Recently, the country’s state-controlled Global Times newspaper reported that — should Donald Trump deliver on his Chinese import duty promises — Apple sales could suffer a crackdown.
Apple has also been subject to punitive measures from the Chinese government, such as being removed from a list of high tech devices that public money is allowed to be spent on. In addition, the company suffered a blow when the Chinese government decided to force the company to shut down the iBook Store and iTunes Movies service in the country.
Fears about the China market have proven so severe that even billionaire super-investor Carl Icahn dumped his Apple stock due to them. “I don’t think it’s a price point [that would get me to go back into Apple stock],” Icahn told CNBC’s Scott Wagner. “I think it’s my opinion about what is happening in China…. I got out because I’m worried about China.”
As someone who has long reported on China, Wei Gu will be familiar with all of these challenges, of course. Having previously served as the WSJ‘s China Wealth and Luxury Editor, it sounds like Apple has just picked a supremely capable, and appropriately-experienced, person to join its team.
Wei Gu left the Wall Street Journal in August, and spent a brief period of time freelancing, prior to joining Apple.