In a move that appears aimed at appeasing Chinese government officials, Apple says it is shifting its mainland Chinese users' data on its iCloud service to servers run by the country's third-largest telecommunications company, China Telecom.
The move should help ease the tension that has been rising between the California-based company and the Chinese government, which had voiced concerns that Apple was not securing the data of its Chinese users in an adequate manner. The move to servers on mainland China should help rectify this concern.
Apple says that although the data will be stored on the government-owned China Telecom's servers, the government and the telecom operator will not have access to the encrypted information being stored.
It is part of Apple's continued push forward on its iCloud service, which gives users the ability to have contacts, emails, photos and other personal data and information stored in the virtual world. It has become a popular service in China, but officials in Beijing had repeatedly voiced their concerns over where that data was being stored and how secure it is.
"Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously," the company said. "We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland China."
With the Chinese government doing much to open its markets to the tech world, companies are scrambling to ensure they have access to the over 1 billion people in the Asian country. Already, Apple has seen much success in China, as sales from that country, Hong Kong and Taiwan, were 16 percent of the company's overall $37.4 billion in revenue during the last quarter.
But China has also become concerned over American tech companies and their role in U.S.-sponsored surveillance efforts of the general population.
Earlier this month, China established a number of restrictions on instant messaging services as it continues to "help build a clean cyberspace" while protecting its national security, Tech Times reports.
The move was passed by China's State Internet Information Office (SIIO) on Aug. 7, and went into effect immediately. It will mainly impact 5.8 million public accounts on mobile text and voice messaging services
"A few people are using the platforms to disseminate information related to terrorism, violence and pornography as well as slander and rumors," said Jiang Jun, spokesman for SIIO. "Such behaviors have raised bitter feelings among netizens."
For companies wanting to enter the market, they must abide by the regulations and rules established by the Chinese government, which are often stricter than in other countries. Apple, with the move of its servers to mainland China for its Chinese users, appears to be acquiescing to Beijing's demands to make certain it will have access to the massive market.