NEW DELHI: Xiaomi said it was open to moving its servers to India subject to its cloud service provider partner setting up base in the country, amid increased government efforts to protect user data on mobile phones.
All our servers are sitting on AWS (Amazon Web Services) in Singapore and US. If AWS moves to India, we would be happy to work with them, Manu Kumar Jain, managing director of India operations, told ET, becoming the first overseas company to openly offer to move its servers to India.
Handset companies typically dont store data on their own servers but instead lease space on third party cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft and Google. While AWS and Microsoft have already set up their centres in India, Google has also announced setting up the same in the country to cater to a larger number of customers, especially those in the government or financial services industry since regulations in those sectors dont permit data to be transmitted outside the country.
We last evaluated this about 2-3 years ago when we were moving our servers (from China). At that time there was no significant presence (of AWS) and it was much more difficult to have it here, Jain said, when asked whether the company would move or add its servers in India, which appears to be the larger aim for the government intending to secure data. Jain did not say whether the company was already in talks with Amazon to move its servers to India.
He though added that from an internet speed perspective, the connectivity between India and Singapore was one of the best. We moved and thought it was pretty good. But if someone, AWS or equivalent, were to set up servers here (in India), we would be happy to work with them, he added.
The company, which sells about 4-5 million smartphones a quarter, said its devices were super-secure, no data was taken without use consent and the data that is taken is encrypted to the highest degree and that it cannot be decrypted even if the data is stolen.
Xiaomis views come at a time when the government is taking up security of phones with all companies, including Apple and Samsung, and scrutinising protection levels that all handset makers a large majority of which are Chinese were providing in India.
Another Chinese brand One-Plus has also said that it is prepared to respond to Indias data security and privacy concerns, since it sells the same smartphones in the US and Europe, where these concerns are already addressed.
Currently, we have not received direct request or requirement to set up servers or cloud storage in India. We are trying to get more clarity on that, One-Plus CEO Peter Lau told ET.
Amid the recent India-China standoff at Dokalam which has since been resolved the IT and electronics ministry has asked over 30 smartphone companies for protocols used by them to ensure the security of mobile phones in the country.
While the government is evaluating responses on security preparedness, it may well ask all those selling devices in India to have locally based servers.
Officials in the ministry said while the issue of apps sweeping up excessive user data was worrying, the broader issue remained that of the security of information that could be going to third parties outside the country, especially to China.
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