Apple has officially launched its streaming music service in China. The company announced Wednesday that Apple Music will cost 10 RMB per month, or only $1.50 US, but not before users exhaust a three-month trial membership.
It was also announced that iTunes Movies and iBooks are both now available in China, which is already the company’s largest market for app downloads.
"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. "One of the top requests has been more great content and we're thrilled to bring music, movies and books to China, currated by a local team of experts."
The low price for Apple Music in China is actually in line with other streaming services there, like Tencent’s QQ Music. Other music competitors in China include Netease and Baidu, and all are faced with trying to get listeners to pay for the stuff after years of downloading pirated music for free. How hard is it to crack the China market? In 2012, Google shuttered its (free) licensed music download service there due to lack of interest.
Without going into specifics, Apple said there are “millions” of songs in Apple Music’s catalog for China, including local artists like Eason Chan, Li Ronghao, JJ Lin and G.E.M. In the U.S., Apple Music boasts over 30 million songs.
Mirroring other territories, Chinese users will get to try Apple Music for free for three months. In places where the service launched on June 30, today marks the day your free ride ends and Apple begins billing you $9.99 per month. That applies only if you signed up on launch day, however, as the trial period extends 90 days no matter when you began using it. (Forget when you signed up? Click here for directions on how to find out when your free trial is up.)
Apple said the streaming service will roll out on Android smartphones this fall.
As for Movies on iTunes, the company said rental prices will start at 5 RMB and 18 RMB to buy new films. iBooks will start at .5 RMB.