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Apple reshuffles China chiefs

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Apple has parted company with the head of its Chinese operation and an Asia-Pacific VP, according to local reports.

According to a report on Chinese-language news service Sina, Apple China General Manager Li Bin and Asia-Pacific VP He Zhongqiang left the firm yesterday, along with the head of Apple's channel team and a number of regional managers.

Bin was only appointed to the General Manager's post in May this year, joining the company after stints with Nokia and, most recently, IBM.

Zhongqiang joined Apple from IBM, too, in November 2002. Previously he had run the Chinese wing of the IT giant's PC division. Based in Beijing, he reported to Apple Asia-Pacific chief Ban Du and the Mac maker's head of worldwide sales and operations, Tim Cook.

Apple hasn't formally commented on the restructure, but the Sina report cites local sources who suggest the approach to sales taken by Bin and Zhongqiang diverged too far from Apple's broader international strategy, rather than a failure to meet performance targets.

While Apple's premium-pricing strategy may work in the West, it doesn't work in China, local analysts say - Apple needs to adapt its approach to the Chinese market, they add, not try and force the region to accomodate its US-centric strategy. ®

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