Apple on Wednesday confirmed that its iCloud services serving mainland China will be handled by a Chinese firm beginning next month. People’s Daily, China says the firm is called Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), and is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.
Apple says customers based in China have been contacted about the move, and has advised them to review the new terms and conditions involved in the move. The new agreement notes that both Apple and GCBD will have access to any data stored on iCloud servers.
Apple announced in July that it was working to build its first Chinese data center on the mainland, via a partnership with a local internet services company.
Apple is making the change in service due to an agreement between it and the Chinese government, intended to bring the Cupertino firm into compliance with the country’s cloud computing regulations. The Chinese regs now require foreign firms to store data within the country. Other tech firms, such as Amazon and Microsoft, will also need to comply with the new rules.
Apple claims the move will allow it to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services in China, but assured customers that no backdoors have been created in any of its systems. Some critics insist the move will make it easier for the boys in Beijing to spy on users in the country.
Chinese customer iCloud data will be transferred beginning February 28. Chinese customers not willing to have their iCloud data stored on servers located in mainland China can terminate their account.