Apple will build a second data center in China after launching its first one in the country last year, a move aimed at complying with Chinese regulations in relation to cloud services.
The US tech giant will set up a new facility in Ulanqab city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, adding to the existing center in Guizhou province.
The Ulanqab center is expected to begin operations in 2020, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the local government.
Under a cooperation agreement between the city government and Apple, the data center will only use renewable energy.
Reuters quoted an Apple spokesman in Shanghai as saying that the firm had strong data privacy and security systems in place when it announced in July last year the launch of the Guizhou data center.
Apple announced recently that, starting from Feb. 28, it will pass on the operation of its iCloud data service in China to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co.
It said there would be no backdoors created into any of its systems.
Still, some observers fear the facilities could enable Chinese authorities to snoop on Chinese users of Apple’s iCloud services.
Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that strives to defend free press and freedom of information, has urged journalists and bloggers who use Apple’s iCloud China to change their geographic region or close their accounts before end-February.
The group also said since Google and Facebook keep trying to get Beijing to lift a ban on their operations in China, the precedent set by Apple could encourage the government to seek more concessions from the Internet giants, posing more danger to those who defend press freedom and to their contacts and families.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 8
Translation by Jonathan Chong with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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