Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi has started moving data related to its non-Chinese customers out of the country. The data is now stored on Amazon’s servers in the U.S. and Singapore. Xiaomi’s Global VP, Hugo Barra wrote about the move on his Google+ page amid continued concern over privacy.
“User experience is hugely important to us,” he began. “We really care about speed and we’re also fully committed to storing our users’ data securely at all times.” The three phase project started earlier this year, and by the end of October, Xiaomi users in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan will all be migrated over to Amazon’s data centers in California and Singapore. Barra claims the Xiaomi website and associated services will see a 20 to 30 percent speed increase.
Any speed boost is always welcome, but most users will be wondering about security. By the end of the year, data related to Xiaomi’s MIUI system — which includes cloud-based messaging and the standard Mi Account used on Xiaomi phones — will be stored on Amazon servers in Oregon and Singapore. Next year, Xiaomi will turn its attention to markets where Amazon’s servers aren’t available and set up its own infrastructure using local data centers.
Xiaomi has suffered from bad press over the past few months, with two reports accusing the firm of collecting private information without permission. The first came from security experts F-Secure, and was based on Xiaomi’s cloud messaging service, while the second comes from the Indian Air Force. In October, it issued a high-level warning that Xiaomi hardware was sending private data to servers in Beijing and warned owners not to use the devices at all.
The Chinese company hopes that shifting customer data out of China will quell fears and allow it to meet local data protection regulations, something Barra calls “A very high priority for Xiaomi as we expand into new markets over the next few years.”
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