Apple Sets Date for China Data Handover

Apple Inc. said it will turn over its cloud operations in China to a state-owned local partner Feb. 28, complying with Chinese law mandating that customer data collected on the mainland be stored here.

With the handover, photos, documents and messages uploaded by Apple users throughout China will be stored at a data center in the southwest province of Guizhou operated by the local partner, Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co., Ltd.

Customers who log on to the Chinese iCloud service are notified of the change, and informed that they can either keep using iCloud or deactivate it on Feb. 28.

Apple said that over the next seven weeks it will seek to make sure customers know about the coming changes, adding that the company "has strong data-privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems."

China has tightened its cloud-computing oversight, saying it needs to ensure the privacy of its citizens' data. Late last year, to comply with the new rules, Amazon Inc.'s Amazon Web Services unit sold computing equipment used for its cloud services in China to its local partner.

Apple announced its plans to transfer the cloud data to its Guizhou partner last summer. This week's announcement, first reported by People's Daily, set the date and other details.

Last year, following Beijing's requests, Apple shut down hundreds of virtual private network apps, or VPNs, that allow users to access blocked websites. Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook defended that action at a business forum last month in Guangzhou, saying Apple needs to abide by Chinese laws so it can participate in the market and not be a bystander.

Yang Jie and Xiao Xiao contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2018 05:24 ET (10:24 GMT)