Apple moves the Chinese iCloud to state-controlled servers

Photo: Adam Dean/Bloomberg

Photo: Adam Dean/Bloomberg

Apple is now using China Telecom’s servers instead of its own to power iCloud for Chinese customers. The switch took place on August 8th, and now the carrier is Apple’s only cloud service provider in China.

The decision is likely a direct response to the Chinese state-controlled media recently lashing out at Apple over national security concerns.

China Telecom said it took “15 months of stringent tests and evaluation” to complete the process. Apple’s public image in China came under fire last month when the media criticized the iPhone’s ability to track the user’s location.

Apple devices were labeled a “national security concern” out of fear over the personal data Apple collects being used to spy on China. Hosting iCloud in China puts Apple in the same camp as local companies that are required to keep their user data within the country.

“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously,” an Apple spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal in a statement. “We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland China.”

The data from iMessage and iCloud’s other services is still encrypted like it is in the U.S., but the Chinese government also has a very different idea of what citizen privacy looks like. China is Apple’s fastest growing market, and it will be interesting to see if the company can maintain its commitment to customer privacy and still thrive in a country that doesn’t share the same respect.

  • funnyboy911

    “still thrive in a country that doesn’t share the same respect.”

    Well Apple is doing fine in the good ole USA.

  • Windlasher

    In a month every app on the Apple store will end up for sale on some Chinese bootleg app site.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    The timeline on this seems a bit strange: The Chinese media story about how Apple is being criticized by the Chinese government for security issues and how the iPhone could be used to spy on Chinese citizens (and the government) came out only recently — yet the article states it’s taken over “15 months of stringent tests and evaluation” to bring Apple’s data over to the China Telecom servers. So how come this only became news over a year AFTER Apple was already working with the Chinese government to make them happy? Is this just another “Apple is bad and responsible for everything, just because…” story?
    Shouldn’t the headline have been something positive like “Apple Responds to Chinese Government Fears by Switching to China Telecom Servers”? That’s still news, but it seems to give an accurate account of the story rather than attempting to paint “Apple as villain” in yet another scenario.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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