Microsoft has tapped up a former Motorola executive to head its operations in China.

Simon Leung, formerly president of Motorola Asia-Pacific, was appointed CEO and chairman of Microsoft's greater China region, an area that covers China and Taiwan. He replaces Ya-Qin Zhang, who filled the role in an acting capacity and will continue as chairman of the company's China research and development group.

Originally from Macau, Leung is a veteran of China's technology market. Before joining Motorola, he was president of Asia for Brightpoint, a wireless handset distributor and provider of value-added mobile services. He also headed up the Asian operations of Tandem Computer, a provider of high-end servers that is now part of Hewlett-Packard.

Leung will report to Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft's international operations.

Despite rampant software piracy, China is an important market for Microsoft. The country is the home to Microsoft's biggest R&D operations outside the US, and the company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars there to establish a presence in the market.

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