Apple appoints first China managing director, as it steps up Apple Pay push

Apple has appointed Isabel Ge Mahe to lead the China business

Apple has appointed Isabel Ge Mahe as vice president and managing director of Greater China as it steps up its efforts to boost its brand and business in China.

Ge Mahe was previously vice president of wireless technologies, where she oversaw the engineering teams developing cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, location and motion technologies in products, as well as Apple Pay, HomeKit and CarPlay.

In the newly-created role, Ge Mahe will be responsible for running Apple’s China based team and will report to CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said in a statement, “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.”

“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,” said Cook.

Isabel Ge Mahe said, “I’m honoured to have this opportunity to represent Apple in China and work more closely with our incredibly talented team. 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's appointment is a sign of Apple's commitment to the market, which is proving to be challenge for the world's largest technology company.

The appointment comes in the same week that Apple has stepped up its efforts to promote its Apple Pay service in China, where the lucrative RMB 35tn ($5.2 tn) mobile payments market is dominated by Alibaba and Tencent, which between them control 92% of transactions.

Despite launching Apple Pay in China nearly 18 months ago, the service has struggled to gain traction. This week, Apple announced a promotion offering up to 50% discounts when Apple customers use Apple Pay at retail stores including 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Carrefour and Gap as well as online stores.

It also follows recent moves by Apple to regulate China's in-app tipping culture and Tencent's Mini Programs. Apple is also facing increased competition from Chinese brands such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.

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