Apple injects iTunes into China by way of Founder; sowing seeds for Founder-branded iPod?

“About the time Mao Zedong was being laid to rest and China was turning into the world’s largest factory, businessmen all over the world were warming themselves with the idea that if they could but sell a single box of matches (figuratively speaking) to every Chinese citizen, the riches of Croesus would be theirs,’ Garry Barker writes for The Age. “The point had not occurred to them that the Chinese made the matches themselves, along with most other things, and that, in any event, 75 per cent of the total Chinese population was not on the gravy train or queueing up for Western matches.”

“This digression is by way of putting into context a deal just done by Steve Jobs and Apple Computer in licensing iTunes to Founder, China’s second-largest computer assembler, which ships about 2 million PCs a year. China is a massive market with rising prosperity among the top 300 million or so of its population, and most of them seem to be avid computer users,” Barker writes. “The Founder deal adds to the Wintel leverage Apple has already gained through its deal with Hewlett-Packard, second-largest PC maker in the world, that now puts iTunes on all HP machines. HP will also sell iPods (in blue HP livery rather than Apple’s white). No word yet on Founder iPods.”

Barker writes, “Rob Schoeben, Apple vice-president handling the deal, said that ‘teaming up with Founder (would) deliver an easy-to-use, seamless music experience to millions of Chinese customers.’ Given that China is the world capital of pirated music and a keen user of KaZaA (not that iTunes is involved with the latter), the arrangement could be causing a bit of froth on the gins and tonics in record company boardrooms.”

“More Founder/HP-type deals seem likely as consumer electronics continues to converge with computing. Apple has just hived off iPod into a separate division under Jon Rubenstein, formerly head of hardware development. Despite protestations, maybe there really is a video iPod (or PDA-Pod or mobile phone-Pod) in the works,” Barker writes.

Full article here.


  1. Since the iPods are made in China (well at least the iPods Mini) this would not be such a stretch. Perhaps Founder or a division of that company is assembling the iPods? Anybody know. Could MDN investigate and find out what company in China is assembling the ‘Pods?

  2. a thousand times, yes. Apple must do everything it can to solidify itself in this space. Being the first boat ashore, so to speak, in China is a very good move.

    Now, if they’d only license Fairplay a little more…

  3. Hopefully with the Open source movement being pushed by IBM and Linux, and free BSD. Microsofts Windows will be humbled. Hopefully Steve, Fiorna, and IBM can keep the momentum going. We are witnessing a lot of changes in the world. Now if we can just stop killing each other over differences in religion or politics.

  4. Communism Red Founder-branded iPod?

    Okay how many chinese can afford an ipod…

    wow lots..

    okay how many who don’t live in HK Shanghai or Beijing..

    ohh not many..

  5. Any additional distribution of iTunes is welcome. You can buy almost any pirated CD for a song in China, and that translates into a lot of music on computers that needs to be managed. The spreading of iTunes there translates into a lot of potential for legitimate downloads from a CiTMS in the future. That should make the RIAA feel better if only they could abandon the fantasy that a yuan of piracy is a loss of a yuan or more of legitimate revenue.

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