The iCloud services of Apple in China will be operated by a local partner in Guizhou province from February 28, where the data of all Apple customers in China will be stored, the company said Wednesday. From then on, photos, documents and other personal information uploaded to iCloud accounts by Apple customers in China will be stored in a database in Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co (GCBD). The news follows an announcement from last year about the impending change-over.
Apple started informing its Chinese iCloud users from Wednesday, with data transferred and uploaded to the new database automatically. The move aims to increase transparency and offer Chinese customers a safer and more fluent experience.
In a statement, Apple said, “Last year, we announced that Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) would become the operator of iCloud in China. As we said at the time, we’re committed to continuously improving the user experience, and our partnership with GCBD will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies. Because of our commitment to transparency, there will be a series of customer communications over the course of the next seven weeks to make sure customers are well informed of the coming changes. Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”
An executive with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data said, “We are very proud and happy to be a partner of Apple, and look forward to the operation of the iCloud project”.
Business analysts said the move will help Apple comply with Chinese law concerning customer data and allay some customers’ concerns about the security of their data, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Apple announced the new database in Guizhou last July, with an investment of $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,370 crores). Other major technology companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, have also made similar deals to run data centres in China.
Guizhou is one of the least developed regions in China. Yet it has become a pioneer in China’s ‘big data’ development due to its pleasant climate, power supply and network infrastructure. The provincial government has set up a leading group for big data, with the provincial governor as a leader. Leaders at various levels are the ‘cloud chiefs’ responsible for big data development in their own areas.