Apple to transfer Chinese iCloud operations to state-run company

Apple iCloud

The iCloud services of Apple Inc.in China will be operated by a local partner in southwest China's Guizhou Province from February 28, the company announced Wednesday.

Despite the prospect of "Big Brother" having unlimited access to Chinese iCloud content, Apple has tried to reassure Chinese users that their data will be thoroughly protected.

"Have you often experienced slow access speed and freezes when you sync your iPhone photos, videos, documents and apps to iCloud?" it wrote on its official Weibo account.

Last year, we announced that Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) would become the operator of iCloud in China. Yet Apple still announced last July that it would invest $ 1 billion in Guizhou so as to establish the new database there.

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. Apple has also bent to other Chinese laws and received criticism for removing hundreds of virtual private network apps from the App Store previous year.

Similarly, Apple's iCloud business in China will be operated by Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), a company owned by southern China's Guizhou provincial government. "Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems", the statement says.

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Non-Chinese users whose iCloud accounts are registered in mainland China but who aren't living in the country have another option.

Like other provinces in China, Guizhou aims to tap into the technology sector's continued growth to help boost its economy.

Influential media subsequently launched an attack on the company and called for a boycott of Apple products.

China is now Apple's third largest market in sales after USA and Europe. The company warned users that the terms and conditions of using iCloud in China will change, and has made it possible for them to delete their accounts instead of going through with the hand over.

The move comes after the company was criticised by some previous year for removing Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) from its App Store in mainland China - software that allowed users to get round government restrictions on internet access.

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