China-born Ge Mahe is tasked with managing Apple’s China business, and she will report to CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams when she takes up the role, which is based out of Shanghai, “later this summer.”
Ge Mahe is currently located in California, where she has spent the last nine years heading up Apple’s wireless technologies software engineering teams. That includes the development of cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, location and motion technologies in products, and Apple said she also has overseen its Apple Pay, HomeKit and CarPlay technologies.
“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,” Ge Mahe said in a statement.
That mention of government in her statement is interesting as it hints that Ge Mahe may take a leading role in liaising with authorities in China. Apple this month announced plans to develop its first China-based data center, a move that is thought to be related to the country’s new cybersecurity laws which went into effect June 1, and this appointment may also be connected.
While there are many business reasons to have a Greater China MD — Apple’s revenue from the region can make or break its quarterly earnings report — having a lead may help with sticky issues in the country. Earlier this year, for example, Beijing authorities summoned Apple to explain its standards for live-streaming apps. The government has since shuttered a number of live-streaming services that it found were in breach of its media standards.