iTunes and Apple Music go live in China

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China iPhone sales
Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

Apple today launched Apple Music, iTunes Movies and iBooks in China.

As with the U.S., Chinese customers are being treated to a three-month free trial for Apple Music. After this, the subscription service will cost a very reasonable 10 yuan ($1.57) per month — just one-sixth of what customers in the U.S. pay for the service.

Apple is pushing the fact that Apple Music in China will feature local artists, such as Eason Chan, Li Ronghao, JJ Lin and G.E.M., in addition to the regular international artists.

“Customers in China love the App Store and have made it our largest market in the world for app downloads,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a statement. “One of the top requests has been more great content and we’re thrilled to bring music, movies and books to China, curated by a local team of experts.”

Apple has also confirmed that Android users will have their own Apple Music app available from this fall.

Movie rentals on the Chinese iTunes will start at 5 yuan in HD, while downloads cost 18 yuan for new releases. iBooks start at 0.5 yuan.

The arrival of the new services comes at an important time for Apple. At the end of September, the initial U.S. free trial of Apple Music comes to an end, which will demonstrate to Apple how successful its music service has been, based on the number of subscribers who transition to paying customers.

By rolling out Apple Music in China at this juncture, Apple has the golden carrot of Chinese Apple Music subscription to point to for the future.

Tim Cook has been very outspoken about his belief that Apple’s no. 1 market will soon be China. Despite reports of slowing handset sales in the country, Cook has pushed for the launch of Apple Pay in China, the opening of multiple new Apple Stores, and has even admitted that Apple designs its new products with Chinese audiences in mind.

Let’s hope Apple can build on its past China success with Apple Music and the like.