Apple’s new China head is a female Mandarin-speaking electrical engineer

Apple has named a woman to head its Greater China region.

Isabel Ge Mahe, who has been with Apple for over nine years, will relocate to Shanghai from California to lead the company’s Greater China team as a vice president and managing director, a newly created position, according to a statement from the company. Ge Mahe led Apple’s wireless technology teams, helping develop HomeKit, the smart-home technology, as well as Apple Pay. The pay service expanded into China in mid-February last year.

Born in China’s northeastern city Shenyang of Liaoning province, Ge Mahe speaks fluent Mandarin, Apple said. She holds an engineering degree from Canada’s Simon Fraser University, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. The engineer said she was looking forward to deepening the company’s “connections with customers, government and businesses in China to advance innovation and sustainability.”

Apple has had a number of disputes with official Chinese entities over the last year amid a tightening environment for foreign businesses in the country. On July 12, Apple announced that it is setting up its first data center in the southwestern Guizhou province to comply with China’s new cyber security law, which requires foreign firms to store data within the country.

In December, a Shanghai government-affiliated consumer group reported eight iPhone explosions. In November, the China Consumers Association, another consumer watchdog group affiliated with China’s State Council (chaired by premier Li Keqiang), demanded answers from Apple after many Chinese users reported that their iPhone 6 and 6s devices were abruptly shutting down.

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