German software firm SAP will store data of its Indian clients on local servers that it will set up on its own or in partnership with other firms, the Economic Times reported. The move is in line with India’s draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, which says that personal data of Indian users must be stored and processed in India. The draft bill is expected to be placed before Parliament once a new government is formed. Christian Klein, COO of SAP, told the Times of India that while the company has a principle that “data is owned by customers”, it would remain flexible to comply with data protection law in India.

Data localisation: What other companies have said

In April 2018, the RBI directed all payment providers  in India to store payments-related data locally. The regulator gave a hard six-month deadline for the companies to comply. In July, the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 was released, compounding the confusion with its own requirements for data localisation.

  • Xiaomi: Said it began storing all new Indian user data in servers within India in July 2018, that and all existing data would be fully migrated to local servers by mid-September 2018.
  • OnePlus: Told ET in December that it had decided to shift all Indian consumer data to servers in India but did not say by when.
  • Visa: On October 27 Visa’s CEO told the ET that the company had begun storing data of Indian users within India, signalling partial compliance with the RBI mandate. It did not specify a deadline for full compliance.
  • MasterCard: Has not said by when it will comply with data localization rules. In December it told the RBI that it would begin deleting data of Indian cardholders from global servers.
  • WhatsApp: Has not specified by when it will complete data localization. The company said in October that it had built a system that stores payments-related data in India. But on March 29, the RBI said the Facebook-owned company had not yet complied with data localization norms.
  • Truecaller: In January the company announced that it already stores all of its Indian user data locally, including payments data.
  • Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft: In September it was reported that the four US tech giants had agreed to comply with data localisation norms after initially opposing them. No deadlines were specified.
  • Alibaba: In September ET reported that the Chinese tech giant supported data localization in India. It didn’t specify a deadline.