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Apple to begin storing Chinese cloud data on mainland

Country's cybersecurity law mandates transfer for users who continue service

A man looks at his phone outside an Apple store in Shanghai.   © Reuters

CHONGQING -- Apple will move cloud data collected from Chinese consumers to a site within the nation's borders next month, in compliance with the one-party state's internet security legislation that took effect in June 2017.

Starting Feb. 28, the U.S. tech giant will delegate operation of its iCloud service to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry, an entity owned by Guizhou Province, the People's Daily newspaper reported. The Communist Party mouthpiece also said Apple was to begin sending notifications of the change to users Wednesday.

Only users who agree to the new terms will have their data stored on the mainland. This transfer will be required to continue using iCloud in China, but those who cancel their subscription will not have cloud data relocated to Chinese territory, a source close to the matter said.

Apple announced in July that it would invest $1 billion in a data center to be operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry.

"The addition of this data center will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said at the time.

China's new cybersecurity law tightened the country's regulatory grip on internet data. In November, agreed to sell servers and other physical assets from its Chinese cloud business to a mainland enterprise for the purpose of continuing those services. Some customers expressed misgivings about a Chinese company gaining control of the data.

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