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Apple building data centre in China to comply with tough cybersecurity laws

Citizen data can only be stored within the country

Apple has announced plans to set up its first data centre as part of a $1bn investment in the Chinese province of Guizhou.

The centre will be built in partnership with local data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry to comply with new cybersecurity regulations introduced last month.

These say that data on Chinese citizens – personal information, salary details – can only be stored within the country. They also prevent the transfer of any economic, scientific or technological data overseas on either national security or public interest grounds, as defined by the Chinese government.

Reuters reported that the move makes Apple the first firm to announce changes to its data storage plans to fall in line with these laws – although other companies, including Amazon, already have data centres in the country.

Apple told Reuters: "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.

"These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we're partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud."

Cupertino added that "no backdoors will be created into any of our systems" and that it was part of a larger investment in the southern province.

Earlier this week, Apple said that it was planning to open a second data centre in Denmark – the first, near Viborg, is due to come online this year – powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

According to Reuters, this new centre, costing $921m, will be built in Aabenraa and should be operational by 2019. Construction is expected to start by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Apple is still waiting to hear whether it can move ahead with plans to open a $850m data centre in Galway, Ireland.

The plans were put on hold after a group of residents asked for a judicial review on environmental grounds.

The case was due to be heard on June 23, but had to be postponed after a shortage of judges meant the court was closed.

The Irish Courts Service told The Reg: "No date has been fixed for the delivery and publication of the judgment". ®

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