Apple to build its first data centre in China

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Apple is building its first data centre in China to comply with new cyber-security laws which require that companies store their data within the country. 

Apple is said by Reuters to be the first foreign company to announce compliance with the new laws and will partner with local company Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry to build the data centre.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said: “The addition of this data center 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.”

The company added that “no backdoors will be created into any of our systems”, referring to the practice of facilitating government authorities to look at the data.

China’s new cyber-security laws are not too dissimilar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which also stipulates that companies keep citizens’ data within the EU.

This has led to numerous companies from outside the EU to move large amounts of data to the EU and even build new data centres in the region.

Apple has is also investing more than a billion dollars in building a data centre in the EU, but has been wrangling with the European Commission over allegations that the company took advantage of unfair tax breaks.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple has paid “substantially less tax than other businesses over many years”, and its effective corporate tax rate was “1 per cent” in 2003 and 0.005 per cent in 2014.

The EC is now demanding that Apple pay $14 billion in unpaid taxes. Apple CEO Tim Cook said this was a “false number” and “total political crap”.

Apple has also apparently irritated Chinese authorities, which last year shut down the company’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they were opened.

Nonetheless, Apple is looking to invest $1 billion in its new Chinese data centre, and has already made a number of other investment decisions in the country.

Last year it invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing service, according to the New York Times.

Moreover, Apple says it plans to invest in the establishment of two research and development centre in China.

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