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.