Boeing has named leasing industry pioneer Peter Gao has its new vice president of commercial sales and marketing for China.

Gao will oversee commercial aircraft and services sales exclusively in China, a break from his predecessor whose portfolio also includes sales activities in Japan and Korea.

This, says the airframer, “underscores the importance of China’s commercial aviation sector”, which is projected to need more than 7,500 aircraft — and spend more than $2.7 billion in services — over the next 20 years.

Gao joins Boeing from China Minsheng Investment Group Aviation, where he was president and chief executive. Prior to that, he was a founding member of leasing firm Bank of Communications Financial.

Boeing’s senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir says that Gao’s background in the aircraft leasing industry will “build on our long-standing partnerships…by continually finding better ways to support their fleet and operational requirements”.

Cirium’s fleets data indicate that there are 1,690 Boeing aircraft in operation in China, with a further 262 aircraft on order.