Apple is planning to spend another billion dollars in China. That investment by itself is not unusual—China is Apple’s second largest market trailing only the United States. But the nature of this investment is drawing attention from the rest of the technology world. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Apple’s setting up its first data center in China in an economically underdeveloped region of the south – part of a billion dollar investment there.
The operations in Guizhou Province involve a local partner—allowing Apple to comply with a new law requiring that information from and about Chinese internet users stays in the country.
The law is vaguely worded—that’s often the case with guidelines involving foreign companies.
And that’s why Apple’s approach is being watched so closely by other multinationals – the company is the biggest international technology player in China.
Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Company will be building the data center and handling the online data storage.
A statement from Apple to the Reuters News Agency mentioned the new government rules, saying “these regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we’re partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud.”
Apple says it has strong data privacy and security protections in place—and will not provide any so-called “back doors” which would allow authorities to circumvent those privacy features.
Some international business groups have criticized the rules saying they could threaten proprietary data, and also give authorities an excuse to influence or even shut down technology companies that run afoul of the Chinese government.