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iTunes store brought to 12 Asian countries as Apple increases global expansion

Apple expanded its iTunes online store this week, bringing access to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and either other Asian markets.

Wednesday's launch expands the reach of the most popular music vendor in the world to Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, breaking away from its roots in the US, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

The announcement comes just days after the company rolled its mobile marketplace to an additional 32 territories, bringing the App Store to a total of 155 countries worldwide.

Customers in Asia can now purchase and download music and videos from iTunes' library of more than 20 million songs by international artists, as well as local musicians. Before the iTunes Store became available, users in Asia could buy and download only apps, not music or movies, on their Apple devices. Other content was available only through gift cards and purchases in other countries' iTunes stores, according to ZD Net.

The company's expansion has left out two large Asian markets — China and India, though the decision may be in lieu of local regulations, copyright laws, and labels' choices, PCWorld reported.

Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.

According to a chart Apple posted on its website to illustrate which types of items are available in which countries, only apps, podcasts, free books, and education content can be downloaded in China and India. Neither country can download video content.