Apple has started storing users’ personal data on mainland China for the first time, using servers provided by China Telecom.
Apple attributed the move, which affects only some Chinese users, to an effort to improve the speed and reliability of its service and reassured customers that all data stored with China Telecom, as with all data centre providers worldwide, will be encrypted.
The decision represents a departure from the policies of some technology companies, notably Google, which has long refused to build data centres in China due to censorship and privacy concerns.
"Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously," the company said in a statement today. "We have added ChinaTelecom to our list of data centre providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland china. All data stored with our providers is encrypted. ChinaTelecom does not have access to the content."
A spokesman for China Telecom declined to comment.
Technology companies seek to position data centres as close to their customers as possible because smaller physical distances mean faster service speeds.