Apple will hand its China cloud operations over to a state-owned partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co. (GCBD) on Feb. 28, according to The Wall Street Journal.
GCBD was approved by People's Government of Guizhou Province in November, 2014, with registered capital of 235 million yuan. The company is sponsored by Guizhou Big Data Development Administration and supervised by the Board of Supervisors of Guizhou State-owned enterprises.
China law requires companies to store customer data collected in the region locally. With the handover, photos, documents and messages uploaded by Apple users throughout the country will be stored at a data center in the southwest province of Guizhou .
Chinese iCloud customers were notified of the change and had the option to keep using the service or deactivate it by the transfer date, according to the WSJ. Apple said that over the next seven weeks it will seek to make sure customers know about the coming changes, adding that the company “has strong data-privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”
As noted by Seeking Alpha, last year, Amazon sold its cloud computing equipment to a local partner for similar reasons. Apple has also bent to other Chinese laws and received criticism for removing hundreds of virtual private network apps from the App Store last year.