Apple has now chose to outsource its Chinese iCloud operations to a local firm in southern China starting February 28th.
The computers on which data is being stored will be under the control of another company, though Apple would well retain control over the encryption used to store and access that data.
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Apple said that this move will "improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies". First spotted by 9to5Mac, this move doesn't seem all that surprising because it's been known since past year that Apple announced a partnership with a local firm, but we didn't know exactly when the iPhone maker was planning to move iCloud operations.
Chinese law makes it mandatory for foreign companies to partner with locally managed businesses to store data.
That followed Apple's announcement in July past year of a partnership with GCBD to establish its first data centre in China, which forms part of the USA technology company's US$1 billion investment programme in Guizhou.
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Like other provinces in China, Guizhou aims to tap into the technology sector's continued growth to help boost its economy. Any iCloud accounts registered outside of China will not be affected.
If you aren't happy with the move, you are given a choice to entirely close your iCloud account before the February 28th deadline.
Apple highlighted to TechCrunch part of its terms & conditions, which state that 'the operation of iCloud services associated with Apple IDs that have China in their country or region setting will be subject to this transition. Despite this, Apple has previously stated that it would create no back doors for governments or other organizations to access customer data, a claim it maintained today when it announced its plans for transferring data to local servers.
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Apple has been trying to play nicely with China for a while now, but the back-and-forth between the tech giant and the local government has often resulted in frustrations for Chinese Apple customers.