Cambodian music-lovers can now set up accounts with Apple’s iTunes Store, the technology company announced yesterday.
But the impact of the move, which opened direct services to 12 countries in the region, could be limited in Cambodia because of a lack of local content and a high volume of pirated products, experts said.
The authorised Apple service centre iOne said Mac users had lobbied for iTunes access for years.
More popular than iTunes would be the App Store, to which Cambodians had long sought access, Ouk Serey Vuth, a sales engineer at iOne, said yesterday.
“Apple agreed with our suggestion and decided to launch the app store,” Serey Vuth said. “We have been trying to convince them for a long time.”
Apple won’t be the only company marketing digital music in Cambodia.
With vast selections of music and albums priced as low as US$0.75, pirated-music vendors would outprice Apple, which sells many albums for about $9.
Ouk Serey Vuth admitted that piracy was a problem, but said Cambodians would choose the legal option that backed up music files if lost.
Apple would have to boost access to local content if it wants to increase its market share in Cambodia.
“I don’t think it’s going to make any difference,” Hello Mobile chief executive Simon Perkins said yesterday. “I think it’s only going to be relevant when it offers products for the Cambodian market.”
Many Apple users in Cambodia probably had iTunes accounts abroad, Perkins said.
The announcement yesterday did not indicate if Cambodians would be able to upload applications designed in their own language.
Dan Hong, an independent application designer, said yesterday using Khmer apps could be challenging.
“I see more and more Khmer-language apps, but it’s not easy to put them on the Apple Store. Lots of Apple users in Cambodia jailbreak their phones to put on Khmer applications,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Don Weinland at [email protected]