iPhone in Asia

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It's been mentioned that Apple plans to bring the iPhone to Asia in 2008:

iPhone will be available in the US in June 2007, Europe in late 2007, and Asia in 2008,

and it's also clear that the iPhone requires an iTunes account to activate.

iTunes accounts are only available in a relatively small number of countries:


Only three of which can be charitably considered as Asia: Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Of those three, only one is really Asia: Japan.

Apple usually decline to comment on why there's no iTunes Music Store in HK and Taiwan. Some speculate that it's down to piracy issues, personally I think it's a combination of not wanting to go into the mainland market and not wanting to differentiate HK and Taiwan from there (with the resulting political fallout). Or it may be due to HK's odd 'parallel import' laws.[1] Or the music distribution companies may be stupid. Of course, it may just be that Apple thinks the market is too small.

It might be too small for online music, but the mobile phone market is huge here. It's hard to see Apple ignoring HK. So are we going to get an iTunes Music Store next year? I sure hope so.

Oh, and Apple, when you do open it in HK make it bilingual, OK?

[1] This report HONG KONG HONG KONG states that:

An amendment before LegCo will liberalize the parallel import of computer software, while maintaining criminal penalties for the parallel importation of "entertainment" copyrighted products like movies and music.

Since then, this article from 2005 states:

On parallel importation of copyright works, ... copyright owners in the film, music and publication industries have strongly objected to any shortening or removing of the 18-month criminal liability period.

The Government has proposed to further liberalise parallel importation by ... reducing the period during which parallel imports would attract criminal liability to nine months after public release.

Given the music and film industries' grave concern ... it is proposed that the relaxation for business end-use will not apply to parallel imported musical sound recordings, musical visual recordings, movies and TV dramas used for public performance purposes.

So, if you define buying music on the internet as importing it, you won't be able to buy new music (less than 9 months old) at all, unless the internet store is the sole importer. At least that's my reading of the law.


HKMacs said:

So maybe we won't get the iPhone in HK.

The Walnut said:

The best case scenario would be: 1) The iPhone's technical problems will have been ironed out by the time it gets here in 2008, 2) The lack of iTunes Music Store in HK will mean that they will sell the unit unlocked (activating and updating can still be done through iTunes itself, just without the music store bit

Much as I love Apple's products (a great deal - much to the annoyance of Mrs Walnut), their US-centric marketing and product focus p*sses me off no end.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on July 7, 2007 2:52 PM.

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