Apple’s big data moves in with Big Brother

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for July 12, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Apple will build a massive data center in southwestern Guizhou Province and migrate all its Chinese users’ information and storage space to the location to comply with Chinese law, Bloomberg reports. The project, part of a $1 billion investment in the remote province promoting itself as a hub for big data in China, will enable Apple to comply with a strict new cybersecurity law that went into effect on June 1.

So what’s the big deal?

  • The June 1 law requires foreign companies to store data on China-based servers, and, Reuters notes, has been criticized as having requirements that are “overly vague, burdening the firms with excessive compliance risks and threatening proprietary data.”
  • An Apple spokesperson addressed these concerns by saying, “No backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”
  • Still, many observers argue that China’s current cybersecurity laws are restrictive to foreign business in the country. For more on this, read Chinese media scholar Rogier Creemers’s view of the June 1 law in China-U.S. Focus, and read Graham Webster’s article on SupChina that explores the Chinese government’s use of the phrase “secure and controllable.”