Further blow to Galway as Apple sets up data centre in China

Spokesman said development was part of planned $1bn investment into the province

Apple announced plans in  2015 to build the centre in Galway. The company now says it is entering a partnership with a local internet services company in China to comply with tougher cybersecurity laws introduced last month. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Apple announced plans in 2015 to build the centre in Galway. The company now says it is entering a partnership with a local internet services company in China to comply with tougher cybersecurity laws introduced last month. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Apple has announced that it is to set up its first data centre in China, less than 24 hours after businesses in Galway expressed concern that the company’s plan for a similar facility in Athenry may not go ahead.

Apple announced plans in February 2015 to build the centre in Galway on the same day it unveiled plans for another facility in Denmark. The Danish data centre is expected to go live later this year but work on the project in Athenry has yet to get under way.

In addition, Apple announced plans to build a second data centre in Denmark on Monday. It will spend 6 billion Danish krone (€808 million) on the facility, which will run entirely on renewable energy.

Furthermore, the US technology company said on Wednesday that it was entering a partnership with a local internet services company in China to comply with tougher cyber-security laws introduced last month.

Apple will build the centre in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCBD).

An Apple spokesman in Shanghai told Reuters the centre is part of a planned $1 billion investment into the province.

“The addition of this data centre will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations,” he said.

“These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we’re partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud,” he said, referring to its online data storage service.

Apple is the first foreign firm to announce amendments to its data storage for China following the implementation of a new cyber-security law on June 1st that requires foreign firms to store data within the country.

Overseas business groups said the law’s strict data surveillance and storage requirements are overly vague, burdening the firms with excessive compliance risks and threatening proprietary data.

Authorities say the law is not designed to put foreign firms at a disadvantage and was drafted in reaction to the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism.

Apple also said it had strong data privacy and security protections in place.

“No backdoors will be created into any of our systems,” it said.

In April, China also announced a law requiring businesses transferring over 1,000 gigabytes of data outside China to undergo yearly security reviews, with potential blocks on exporting economic, technological and scientific data.

The new laws come as Chinese cloud firms are expanding rapidly in foreign markets. Alibaba Group Holding has 17 data centres across China, the United States, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Other foreign firms that oversee cloud businesses, including Amazon. com Inc and Microsoft Corp, already have data centres in China.

-Reuters