Apple unveils iCloud data centre in China as cyber laws tightened

July 13, 2017
After announcing its first data centre in China, the US giant sought to allay fears data-security could be monitored or compromised by China's government or other parties

Apple has unveiled plans to build a data centre in China to store its local iCloud customers' personal details, marking the first such move by a foreign technology firm following the imposition of strict new cyber-security laws in the country.

The US titan said it was partnering with an in southwestern Guizhou province on the project, which will "improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations."

It appeared to be referring to the June 1 implementation of a new law that, among other things, requires tech companies to store user data inside the country.

Some foreign firms have said the law is worryingly vague on key provisions and expressed concern over the potential impact on their business in the world's second-largest economy.

The law also further tightens Chinese curbs on web content, banning the publishing of anything that "disturbs economic or social order" or is aimed at overthrowing the government.

But Apple issued a statement seeking to allay fears that data-security could somehow be monitored or compromised by China's government or other parties.

"Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems," it said in the statement released Wednesday.

The firm did not give any financial details of the project, but China's state-run Xinhua news agency said it was part of a $1 billion investment.

China has hundreds of millions of smartphone users and is a vital market for Apple, whose iPhones are wildly popular in the country.

Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom analyst, said more foreign data centres are expected under the cyber-security legislation.

"The new rule requires this key information to be put in China. The boundary is very clear," Fu said.

He said the ramifications for Apple and other companies could be higher costs and potentially more restrictions under Chinese law.

"For (Apple) users, the good thing is their user experience like download speed will improve but the downside is that their access to overseas services and resources will be reduced," Fu added.

"It will be harder for them to access services that aren't allowed in China now."

Computer and data security has become a top international concern following recent cyber attacks including the global ransomware contagion in May that affected government, industrial, academic and other computing systems in more than 150 countries.

The six-month-old administration of US President Donald Trump has been dogged by allegations that his candidacy benefitted from Russian hacking aimed at discrediting his campaign opponent Hillary Clinton.

The finger also has been pointed at Moscow for interference in the recent French elections, and Germany's domestic security watchdog warned last week that the country would likely face Russian cyberattacks heading into September's general election.

Explore further: Apple to open data center in China with government ties

Related Stories

Apple to open data center in China with government ties

July 12, 2017

Apple will open a data center in mainland China with ties to the country's government, raising concerns about the security of iCloud accounts that store personal information transferred from iPhones, iPads and Mac computers ...

China to launch cybersecurity law despite concerns

May 30, 2017

China will implement a controversial cybersecurity law Thursday despite concerns from foreign firms worried about its impact on their ability to do business in the world's second largest economy.

China's WeChat blocked in Russia

May 6, 2017

Chinese internet giant Tencent said Saturday its messaging app WeChat had been blocked in Russia, adding it was in touch with authorities to resolve the issue.

Recommended for you

Pushing lithium ion batteries to the next performance level

December 13, 2018

Conventional lithium ion batteries, such as those widely used in smartphones and notebooks, have reached performance limits. Materials chemist Freddy Kleitz from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna and international ...

Uber filed paperwork for IPO: report

December 8, 2018

Ride-share company Uber quietly filed paperwork this week for its initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.