Apple has launched Apple Music together with iTunes Movies and iBooks in China, which is already the company's largest market for app downloads.
The company is braving competition from local players as well as the high piracy levels in the country. China's National Copyright Administration earlier this year, however, indicated a crackdown on piracy with a warning to streaming services offering unlicensed music.
From Wednesday, users of PC, Macs and iOS devices in China can sign up to a three-month trial membership of Apple Music, after which they will have to pay 10 yuan (US$1.6) subscription fee per month. The service will be available on Android phones this fall. The company is offering a family pack for up to six family members at 15 yuan a month.
China has been late in getting the music service from Apple, which launched June 30 in over 100 countries. The service was offered in the U.S. on a three-month free trial to be followed by a $10 per month subscription fee.
The lower prices in China reflects Apple's pricing strategy for Apple Music in a number of price-sensitive markets. Movies on iTunes will be available starting at 5 yuan for rental in high-definition and 18 yuan to buy new releases in HD, Apple said Wednesday. Paid iBooks start at 0.5 yuan.
Apple Music will offer in China music from both local artists like Eason Chan, Li Ronghao, JJ Lin and G.E.M., and international artists like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Users will also be allowed to rent or purchase movies from both Chinese studios and Hollywood blockbusters on the iTunes Store.
Google shut down in 2012 for a variety of reasons a music search service in the country that offered free licensed music downloads. The company said it was shutting it down to focus on more successful products as the music product's "influence never quite reached as high as our expectations for it."
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