Apple has announced plans to setup its first data center in China to comply with a new law requiring foreign companies to store Chinese users’ information in the country. The data center will be built in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCBD) as part of a planned $1 billion investment in the province.
"The addition of this data centre will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said in a statement to Reuters.
Apple is the first foreign firm to announce amendments to its data storage for China after the new cybersecurity law came into effect. Other Western companies like Microsoft and IBM have run their own China-hosted cloud services for years and will need to comply with the new rules too.
Critics of the law say its strict data surveillance and storage requirements are overly vague, burdening the firms with excessive compliance risks and threatening proprietary data.
Apple was quick to point out that "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems."
Apple has been far more profitable in China than most of its Western peers but it’s had to adapt to stronger government scrutiny. For instance, the company must undergo “security audits” on new models of the iPhone before gaining approval to sell them in China. It also saw its iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services shut down in China just six months after they were introduced.