Apple creates new managing director role for its Greater China expansion

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New China VP
Isabel Ge Mahe is currently Apple's vice president of Wireless Technologies.
Photo: Apple

Apple has appointed a new vice president and managing director of its Greater China region. Isabel Ge Mahe is currently Apple’s vice president of Wireless Technologies, having worked for Apple since July 2008.

In her new role, she will be based in Shanghai, but report directly to Tim Cook and Apple COO Jeff Williams.

Focus on China continues

The newly-created role is another demonstration of how much importance Apple places on China. Tim Cook has previously been open about his belief that China represents Apple’s future biggest market, and has said that Apple designs all of its new products with the Chinese audience in mind.

Last year, Apple brought in more revenue selling apps in China than it did from the U.S. App Store. Apple has also pursued an aggressive strategy of opening up numerous new Apple retail stores in the country.

Not everything is so straightforward, however. Interest in the iPhone is reportedly dipping in China, while Apple has been subject to plenty of scrutiny as a foreign tech giant.

In the past, Apple has been forced to shut down its iBookstore and iTunes Movies in China, as well as been forced to accept the Chinese government’s demands that it run network safety evaluations on all Apple products before they can be imported into the country. Its products have additionally been booted off the list of approved state purchases, had demands to “tighten its checks” on certain apps in the App Store, and — most recently — had to team up with a local data management company to meet new cybersecurity rules.

Isabel Ge Mahe will have to navigate all of these challenges in her new post. Nonetheless, it’s a great position and demonstrates how much faith Apple has in her abilities. In the new job, she will have to provide leadership and coordination across Apple’s various China-based teams.

She has previously been involved with several China-specific features for iOS, such as QR Code support, SMS fraud prevention and enabling the use of a phone number as an Apple ID.

“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 Tim Cook. “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.”