Biz / Tech

Apple's iCloud services in China to be operated by domestic firm

The US tech giant's move comes after consumers complain about iCloud's slow speed and loss of data.  

Apple Inc’s iCloud services in China will be operated by a domestic firm from next month in response to consumer complaints over the slow speed and loss of data, the company said today.

The move also helps Apple to better comply with Chinese cyber security laws on data privacy, which require all foreign companies to store data of Chinese users domestically, according to analysts. 

It is hoped that the move will "improve the speed and reliability” of iCloud services while also “complying with newly passed regulations”, Apple said.

Consumers complained that the iCloud, which allows iPhone and iPad users to store and synchronize pictures, videos, and documents online, has caused them to lose data, is difficult to access and suffers low upload speed.  Apple China is able to give them limited technical support as its iCloud team is based outside the mainland, Shanghai Daily learned. 

The iCloud service will be operated by Guizhou Cloud Big Data, a government-backed firm based in Guizhou Province in south China. iCloud data will be transferred from 28 February. However, iCloud accounts registered outside China are not affected, according to Apple. 

“It’s a natural move for Apple to be more localized in China, as many foreign Internet firms do,” said Jia Mo, analyst at research firm Canalys. “Chinese operators are expected to offer better services for local consumers.”

Apple previously said that it would invest US$1 billion in Guizhou to build the data center and to establish new research centers in Shanghai and Suzhou.

Amazon and Microsoft have also announced plans to transfer data centers in China to local partners.

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