Apple is setting up a new data center in China, in partnership with local data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCDB), in order to meet new cybersecurity rules.
The new tougher cybersecurity laws were introduced in China last month, requiring cloud services in the country to be operated by Chinese companies.
Apple is the first foreign company to announce changes to its data storage in China in order to conform to the new law. Other businesses based overseas have complained that the law’s rules around data surveillance and storage are overly vague in terms of their compliance.
Chinese authorities have said that the law is not designed to hurt foreign companies, but rather to protect against possible cyber attacks and terrorism.
Interestingly, the rules come into effect at a time when Chinese cloud companies, such as the Alibaba Group, are aggressively expanding into foreign markets — such as the United States, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Other tech giants with data centers in China include Amazon and Microsoft.
Previous issues in China
If other companies’ complaints about the new rules are valid, it’s easy to imagine that Apple would also not be too happy about them. However, it’s also understandable that Apple wouldn’t want to make waves in the country Tim Cook has previously claimed is Apple’s future biggest market.
Previously, Apple has been forced to accept the Chinese government’s demands that it run network safety evaluations on all Apple products before they can be imported into the country. It has also seen its products booted off the list of approved state purchases in favor of Chinese-made products, and been forced to shut down its iBooks Store and iTunes Movies in the country — just six months after the services were first made available.
We guess in this case Apple’s acquiescence represented the path of least resistance.