Apple told Reuters on Wednesday that the data center would be built in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCBD) as part of a planned $1 billion investment in the province.
"The addition of this data centre will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said in a statement. "These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we're partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud," it said, referring to its online data storage service.According to Reuters, Apple is the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to its data storage arrangements in China after a new cybersecurity law was implemented in June which requires foreign firms to store data within the country. Other tech firms with data centers in China include Microsoft and Amazon, which will also need to comply with the new rules.
Overseas business groups have been critical of the law's strict data surveillance and storage requirements, which they say are overly vague and burden companies with excessive compliance risks, threatening proprietary data. Authorities say the law is not designed to put foreign firms at a disadvantage and was introduced as a response to the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism.
Apple assured reporters it had strong privacy and security protections in place. "No backdoors will be created into any of our systems," said a company spokesman.
Earlier this week, Apple announced it was building a second data center in Denmark run entirely on renewable energy. The company said a planned data center in Athenry, Ireland, announced in 2015, had yet to begin construction and is awaiting judicial review.