Apple has announced that it will build a data center in China, to comply with the country’s new cybersecurity and data portability regulations.
The new data center will be built in the Guangzhou province, as part of the company’s $1 billion investment in the region. The facility will be used to deliver low latency connections to cloud services for customers in mainland China, and will also help the company to comply with China’s new cybersecurity initiative, which requires that data for Chinese citizens resides within the country.
Data belonging to Chinese citizens that is currently stored elsewhere will be migrated to the new facility in the coming months. The new data center will be operated by Guangzhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd. (GCBD), a government-sponsored entity in the region.
Apple will register as a business entity in Guangzhou to help build the data centers and offer technological support, and GCBD will become the sole operating partner of Apple’s iCloud service on the Chinese mainland.
In a statement, Apple outlined the dual benefits of having a data center located in mainland China.
In a statement, the company 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.”
The new cybersecurity regulations on Chinese data storage were effective as of last month, as international companies hoping to make inroads in the Chinese market scramble to comply. The new law requires that data on Chinese consumers be stored within the country’s borders, and also provides that any firm exporting data undergo random security assessments by the government’s Cyberspace Administration.
The law requires that international companies provide the government with encryption keys, so that protected data may be accessed by the government at its discretion. This provision, along with the security assessments outlined in the new law, has raised concerns regarding the government’s access to secured systems.
Apple addressed these concerns in the statement issued announcing the new data center, saying, “Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”