- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

HONG KONG (AP) - Apple rolled out its iTunes online store to Hong Kong, Taiwan and 10 other Asian countries Wednesday in a broad push to sell music and video to more users in the company’s fastest growing region.

Singapore, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos will also get their own iTunes stores. But China, which accounts for a big part of Apple’s revenues, was not included.

Previously, Apple fans in these territories could only access the company’s App Store, a separate platform used to download applications for their iPods, iPhones and iPads.

The only way they could access music or movies from the iTunes store was by using gift cards sold in some of the 51 countries such as the United States or Britain that already had their own stores.

Now they can use locally issued credit cards to download music from the store’s 20-million-song library as well as buy or rent movies.

Until now in Asia and the South Pacific, only Australia, New Zealand and Japan had their own iTunes stores.

The Asia-Pacific region is becoming increasingly important to Apple’s profit growth. Sales in the region, which excludes Japan, rose 174 percent in 2011 to $14.3 billion, outpacing the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s other major markets including the Americas and Europe.

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