Apple is now using China Telecom data centers to store the iCloud data of its Chinese customers, according to a statement the company gave to the Wall Street Journal.
State-owned China Telecom, which also sells iOS products, said Apple had gone with its data centers after 15 months of “stringent tests and evaluation.” The U.S. company did not say whether it had made move to allay the security fears of the Chinese government, but it did note that the data is encrypted and inaccessible to China Telecom.
Seemingly as part of China’s ongoing spat with the U.S. over hacking and spying, in July state broadcasters claimed that iPhones and iPads were a threat to state security – although that was specific to worries over iOS’s Frequent Locations function.
There were also reports last week that the Chinese government had taken MacBooks and iPads off the menu for governmental procurement schemes, though the government subsequently denied this was the case, claiming (contrary to Bloomberg’s sources) that they were never on those lists in the first place.
Whether or not this situation has anything to do with Apple’s iCloud move, Gartner analyst Sandy Shen also pointed out in the WSJ piece that the decision would “allow faster and more stable access to iCloud services.”
Of course, if China decides to follow Russia in mandating that all web service providers must store citizens’ data locally, this will also prove to have been a useful pre-emptive move.