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Apple to begin storing Chinese cloud data on mainland

11 January 2018

New York-listed Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post, signed a framework agreement with the Guizhou provincial government in 2014 to set up an industrial base for its cloud computing business and big data operations.

Apple announced the new database in Guizhou last July, with an investment of United States dollars 1 billion.

Like other provinces in China, Guizhou aims to tap into the technology sector's continued growth to help boost its economy.

Last year, China implemented new cybersecurity rules which makes companies store all digital data within the country. The report noted that Apple was setting up its first data center in China, in partnership with a local internet services company, to comply with tougher cyber-security laws introduced in June 2017.

Apple announced the new data base in Guizhou last July, with an investment of 1 billion USA dollars.

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Apple made the move to comply with the country's latest regulations on cloud services.

The new terms, which apply only to iCloud accounts registered inside China*, will take effect on February 28, 2018.

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

The Chinese company is called Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co., Ltd., which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.

Having domestic control over mainland Chinese iCloud accounts will delight the Beijing authorities, who have been pushing to oversee Apple's software presence in the country for months. This transfer will be required to continue using iCloud in China, but those who cancel their subscription will not have cloud data relocated to Chinese territory, a source close to the matter said.

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Apple sent out a message to customers in China this week, revealing terms and conditions of the changeover.

For Apple users, iCloud is typically a place to store data such as music, photos and contacts.

Other US and European IT companies are considering moving their data centers to China.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook defended the action at the time, saying he would "rather not" be doing it, adding he hoped the restrictions would be "lessened" over time.

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Apple to begin storing Chinese cloud data on mainland