The company confirmed the change to the Wall Street Journal, explaining that it comes after 15 months of testing. It isn’t clear exactly why Apple is moving to local servers, but it is likely to mean better quality of service for China Telecom customer who store music, photos and documents on its iCloud service.
China has been cracking down on a range of US tech firms of late. There are ongoing antitrust investigations with Microsoft and Qualcomm, while it previously criticized Apple’s location tracking feature for its potential to reveal user data. Putting servers on Chinese soil may appease the government somewhat in that respect.
Apple told the Journal that the data is encrypted, but conspiracy theorists may still feel that housing information in China gives the government an opportunity to access it. LinkedIn and Evernote, two US companies with local servers in China, have both previously conceded that they are powerless to stop the state if it wishes to access information held in the country.
It isn’t clear whether Apple has plans to set up dedicated servers for customers of China Mobile and China Unicom, the other two mobile carriers in the country.
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