With Apple’s plans to put up a data center in China’s Guizhou Province in high gear, the authorities in the region plan to set up a working committee that will be chaired by members of the Communist Party. This committee will be charged with overseeing the iCloud facility that Apple will construct.
“The provincial government has decided to form a development and coordination working committee to quicken the setting up of Apple’s iCloud project,” read a Guizhou Province statement written in Chinese.
Authorities in China have begun a closer policing of the internet and this culminated in the introduction of a new law on cybersecurity which imposes tougher data controls compared to the United States or Europe. This law mandates all firms to pass security reviews and store data within China.
According to the government of Guizhou province the working committee that will oversee Apple’s iCloud facility will consist of ten members. This will include Ma Ningyu, the deputy secretary general of Guizhou, Qin Rupei, the executive vice governor of Guizhou as well as other officials.
Last month Apple revealed that it had constructed its first Chinese data center in Guizhou. In order to be in compliance with the new cyber security laws, Apple put up the data center in collaboration with an internet services firm that is locally based. Apple is planning to invest approximately $1 billion in the province and the data center is part of the investment.
Local data laws
China has become an important market for the Cupertino, California-based tech giant especially as growth slows in the more developed markets. But the iPhone maker has come under increasing pressure from the regulators in the world’s second largest economy as it tries to achieve compliance with the local data laws which demand that access to content from overseas be curtailed.
Late last month Apple was heavily criticized after it announced that it would be getting rid of virtual private network apps in its Chinese app store. This came after a directive had been issued earlier in the year by the Chinese information technology ministry which indicated developers providing virtual private networks must get a government license. In its defense Apple argued that it had to get rid of those VPN apps since they failed to comply with the directive.
Besides Apple another U.S. tech company that has come under increasing scrutiny from Chinese regulators is Facebook which recently had certain functions of its WhatsApp messaging application disabled.