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Apple reportedly building Chinese data center

As Apple prepares to expand its business beyond smartphones and computers to the internet of things, its data center business is growing fast. Now the Cupertino company is reportedly taking part of that business to mainland China.

Apple is thought to be building a Chinese data center in response to local laws that require companies doing business in China to store their data there. According to Bloomberg, the data center will be built and operated in partnership with a firm called Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data.

The Chinese data center is expected to use 100% renewable energy. This is consistent with Apple’s U.S. policy, which has been to power its data centers exclusively with renewable energy since 2012.

Apple said the Chinese data center will speed up its delivery of information within China, without compromising the security of data housed outside the country. Apple said it would not permit “backdoor” access to servers outside China through its Chinese data center.

China is a very important market for Apple, and until recently more iPhones were sold in China than in any other country. Now, the iPhone is gaining market share in the U.S. and losing share in China, so China is no longer the top buyer of iPhones. But with more than a billion mobile subscribers, the market has vast potential for Apple, not just for smartphones but also for wearable devices and connected car services.

The Chinese government’s push to force companies to keep their data within the country coincides with a reported crackdown on companies that allow Chinese web surfers to access virtual private networks that can take them to websites banned by the government. This change is expected to be implemented by Chinese wireless carriers and other providers of internet service over the next six months.

Image source: McKinsey

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