May 18, 2004 11:12 AM PDT

Apple's iTunes software heads to China

Apple Computer has struck a deal that will allow its iTunes jukebox software to show up on Windows PCs in China, the company said Tuesday.

The Mac maker said Founder Technology, China's second-largest computer maker, will bundle iTunes on its PCs. An Apple representative said the deal applied to the iTunes jukebox software only, and not the company's online music store. The store has thus far been limited to U.S. customers, though Apple has said it hopes to expand to Europe this year.

The Founder deal is the second Apple has reached with a PC maker. Under an agreement announced in January, Hewlett-Packard will include iTunes on its PCs. HP also plans to start selling a blue, HP-branded iPod this summer.

Founder chairman Wei Xin said the deal lets Founder be the first to offer iTunes in China. "Digital music is becoming very important in the Chinese PC market, and Apple's iTunes is the runaway market leader," Xin said in a statement.

Technology Business Research senior analyst Tim Deal said the number of potential customers in China offers Apple a way to significantly boost iPod sales in Asia. "There are a lot of vendors vying for Chinese customers right now," Deal said in an e-mail interview.

Apple released an updated version of its iTunes jukebox software last month.


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