Apple has plans to develop a data center in China, which will be a first for the American tech company. The center will be built in Guizhou and will hopefully provide Chinese citizens with faster access to Apple services such as iCloud. This new move is another part of Apple’s continued efforts to abide by Chinese laws, which force foreign companies to store their information within China’s borders.
According to Bloomberg, Apple announced that it will be partnering with Guizhou officials and Cloud Big Data Industry Co. Ltd. to construct and operate the renewable-energy-powered data center. The plan is to move the data for Chinese users, which is currently stored outside of China, to the new facility within the next few months.
This data center is only a small piece of the $1 billion venture Apple will be making in Guizhou. In recent years, the impoverished province has been trying to establish itself as China’s new “data center capital.” The rural, mountainous region of southwestern China is known for its production of baiju. But the local government also sees a burgeoning opportunity to bring more, white-collar jobs to the majority blue-collar community via tech companies such as Apple.
Apple seems very willing to comply with the China’s latest and controversial cyber-security laws in order to ensure that they do not lose access to one of the largest tech markets in the world. In recent years, companies which offer cloud services have been capitalizing on the immense Asian market. Corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Alibaba all have data centers up and running in China and Apple is struggling to keep up.
Last year, Apple ran into some trouble when the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) decided to shut down its iTunes Movies and iBooks services after only seven months of operation. At the same time, Apple’s market share in China has been trending downward as many Chinese customers opt for cheaper Android alternatives.
The latest set of regulations imposed by the Chinese government on June 1st has a lot of members of the global tech community concerned about data security, Reuters reports. However, Chinese officials adamantly say that the stricter laws are intended only to protect the nation from external cyber attacks and that they are not intended to put foreign businesses at a disadvantage. But, Apple representatives also made it clear that their customers’ data will be secure and that they would not allow any “backdoors” to be created in any of their technology.
Of course, the Chinese government doesn’t exactly need a backdoor when it can simply walk in the front.
By Emma Abrams
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