Apple has confirmed that it has launched its iTunes store in 12 new markets in Asia, including Hong Kong, allowing its users in these regions to buy and download music and videos more conveniently.

The 12 countries and regions are Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Taiwan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

iTunes is one of the most popular Internet music stores in the world. By the end of 2011, it had sold 16 billion songs. However, before its launch in these 12 countries and regions, iTunes was only available in three Asia Pacific countries, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

Prior to this, iPhone and iPad users in these 12 countries and regions could download localized applications and various global applications from Apple’s App Store, but without the support of iTunes store, they could not buy music or movies. According to Apple, the setting of this limit aims to protect copyright and licensing.

The ever-growing consumer culture in Asia creates large demands for Apple products. Apple’s iOS system reportedly has the highest penetration rate in Asia Pacific. According to the mobile advertising company AdMob, in 2010, iOS system’s penetration rate in Singapore was 10%, while it was only 6% in the U.S. during the same period.