Apple has launched its long awaited iTunes stores across 12 countries in Asia. Already available in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, consumers with credit cards in Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will now be able to access millions of songs and movies.
With mobile devices being hugely popular in these markets, Apple will be able to compete more effectively with Android. Android-based phones have done relatively well in several of these countries because of lower priced models available from a variety of different manufacturers.
“The launch of the stores in these countries is a viable strategic move,” states Frost & Sullivan’s team leader for ICT, Ian Duvenage. “Apple is improving the overall usability of the phone, which ultimately will drive sales of the phones as well as other devices, through access to more apps and iTunes functionality.”
The launch has been welcomed and well received, and may be a very positive development towards helping the industry fight piracy in several of these countries. The availability of content, in attractively packaged and priced formats, will encourage and enable users to stay away from piracy. This is a very powerful development for the industry and the ecosystem.
“iTunes is a major revenue spinner for Apple. The amount of downloads and access to apps is convincing the Apple development community to focus only on iOS, as opposed to any other operating systems. This has led to the surge in iTunes stores development which creates a good re-enforcing circle,” says Duvenage.
Currently, the iPhone and iPad have driven the “cult like” following of Apple globally. Through the introduction of iStores, individuals will have full access to the features and apps which have made the phone and the brand famous in other parts of the world.
Duvenage concludes that the Apple brand is gaining momentum, with a substantial increase in sales and response to new product launches as proof.
“We expect Apple to roll the stores out at an increasing pace to satisfy the requirements of other countries. The big question for Apple is whether iTunes in Africa and other largely untapped markets will impact their sales, status and global following?”