Apple China is building its very own data center according to reports from Guizhou City News (in Chinese). The data center construction is said to begin this year and is expected to complete and be in operation as soon as early 2020.
An estimated $1 billion investment will be poured into the construction of the data center with the complex planned to cover over approximately 1000 mu of land (equivalent to 164.7 acres). The construction will be completed in two phases and so far Apple has decided on the location. When complete, all data owned by iCloud users in China will be migrated from overseas data centers to Apple’s new data center which will be operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co. Ltd. (GCBD), a company owned by the Guizhou provincial government. Before then, GCBD will partner with three of the largest cloud operators in China, renting their cloud servers to provide services for Apple’s iCloud users.
Earlier this month, Apple announced that starting from 28 February it will hand over the operation of its iCloud data center in mainland China to the government-owned internet service provider. Apple said the partnership would improve the speed and reliability of its cloud services and while true to a degree, it was mostly to comply with increasingly stringent local laws. The new cybersecurity regulations, passed in July last year, require companies to store all user data within the mainland.
Apple’s move will make sure iCloud user data owned by Chinese users remain inside the country. However, quite expectedly, Apple’s decision sparked data privacy concerns since all data transferred will be reviewed by Chinese regulators before transferring abroad.
As China began to tighten its local data regulations last year and clamp down on companies that store Chinese user data overseas, foreign tech companies are finding new unique challenges for doing businesses in the country. Last November, Amazon.com agreed to sell their public cloud computing unit to a mainland enterprise hoping to continue those services in China.