Singapore: Apple on Wednesday launched online music store iTunes in 12 Asian markets but left India and China -- two major mobile markets in the region.

The iPhone maker opened the stores in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are the other markets where the stores have been launched.

The iTunes stores would feature a selection of local and international music from all the major labels and thousands of independent labels.

When asked about the Chinese and Indian markets not being included in the launch, an Apple spokesman said, "We don't have anything further to add."

Both the Chinese and Indian markets boast a combined population of 2.5 billion with an ever growing middle-class and the world's fastest growing mobile phone networks.

Apple said it was 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, with many available in stunning HD, from major studios including 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros Pictures."

The iTunes Store joins the revolutionary App StoreT which offers more than 650,000 apps to consumers in 155 countries.

"The iTunes Store is the best way for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online.

All music on the iTunes Store comes in iTunes PlusR, Apple's DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings," said the company.


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