Apple announced on Wednesday that is has established a new data centre in China to meet strict new cyber-security rules introduced last month that require foreign firms to store data within the country.
Like all of Apple’s data centres, this one will be powered exclusively by renewable energy. What’s new for Apple here is building the centre with a domestic collaborator—they will work in cooperation with Chinese data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd (GCBD).
The centre is part of a planned USD 1 billion investment into the southern Chinese province of Guizhou. In a statement, Apple said, “The addition of this data center will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations.”
This move makes Apple the first foreign firm to announce that it will amend its data storage for China in accordance with these new rules, which require the company to relocate the iCloud data of mainland Chinese consumers from the US. Though the announcement of these new regulations caused concerns amongst consumers and firms alike, with many speculating that they will make it easier for authorities to access private information, the company is confident that its data will remain secure. Apple said, “As our customers know, Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”
Chinese authorities claim that the new laws were drafted in response to the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and cyber terrorism, and are not intended or designed to put foreign firms at a disadvantage.
After its iBooks and iTunes movies services were closed down by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, and Film last year, working closer with the Chinese government and Chinese firms is likely to benefit Apple. China is the company’s second largest market globally, helping it compete with other major tech companies. Some estimates say that China will overtake the United States in terms of app revenue this year if current growth rates persist.
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