Apple announced Wednesday the launch of the iTunes Store in 12 locations in Asia, offering music and video downloads, but the two large markets of China and India were excluded.
The company said it was launching stores in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan with a selection of local and international music from major and independent labels.
Apple said it was also bringing the iTunes Store to music fans in Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Customers can also rent or purchase movies from the iTunes Store, including in HD, from major studios like 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures.
The decision not to offer music and video download services in India and mainland China may have to do with local regulations, copyright laws, and the stand taken by the labels, analysts said.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment, while its India spokesman declined to comment.
On a chart put up by Apple on its website, indicating what kind of content can be downloaded in each country, only apps, podcasts, free books, and educational content from iTunes U can be currently downloaded in China and India.
In the quarter ended March 31, Apple reported net sales in Asia-Pacific of US$10 billion, up by 114 percent compared to the same quarter in 2011. The Asia-Pacific segment, which includes Australia and Asian countries, other than Japan, accounted for 26 percent of net sales.