Apple Music may have priced its China launch Wednesday at a steep discount to what it charges in the U.S., but the music streaming service may be a tough sell.
Analysts note that Apple's offering of its catalog of millions of songs as well as access to iTunes Movies and iBooks may not be as appealing to consumers in China as the company's snazzy smartphones and tablets given language barriers as well as differences in tastes.
"China is more of a difficult market to penetrate, especially for global companies. China tends to prefer local companies," said Karissa Chua, a consumer electronics analyst at Euromonitor International. She expects language differences may prove a sticking point on music offerings. But she added, "one good strategy was to launch [the service] in both Apple iPhone and Android," as Android smartphones are more popular in China, which is the world's largest smartphone market.
The pricing of the Apple Music service, at 10 yuan ($1.57) a month, is significantly below the U.S. fee of $9.99 and the around $5.00 in Indonesia, but it isn't too far from the around $1.80 charged in India. Movies on iTunes will start at 5 yuan for a high-definition rental and 18 yuan to buy a new release.
"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."