Marketplace arrives in 13 new countries

Let the downloading begin. I’m happy to report that today we’re opening 13 new storefronts around the world for Windows Phone apps and games.

The new Marketplaces are Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Throw in the ones we launched earlier this year in Argentina, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, and the Philippines, and it brings the total number of Marketplace storefronts to 54.

And we’re not done yet. As we announced at Mobile World Congress this year, we’ll also be opening stores in UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand, and Vietnam. I’ll update you on timing for those launches once I have more details.

Nǐ hǎo, China!

We’re excited about all the new Marketplace locations, but there’s one recent addition worth special mention: China. Maybe you saw the news today about the Nokia Lumia phones coming to China Telecom. In less than three months, we’ve added 20,000 apps and 15,000 registered developers to our new China Marketplace. Here’s a peek at the online store if you’re curious.

We’re thrilled to be in China and look forward to hearing what our customers there think, so we can incorporate their suggestions in future versions of the China Marketplace.

A look at the online version of the new Windows Phone Marketplace for China.

Setting up your local Marketplace

If you live in one of the countries I mentioned above, here’s how to set up your phone to download apps from your new local Marketplace. (Note that for technical reasons it might take a few days before Marketplace is visible on everyone’s phones in the new countries—and look for the web versions of the new stores sometime next week. )

What happens if you’ve already set up your phone to download apps from a Marketplace elsewhere?

You can still reconfigure your phone to use your new local Marketplace, and this article walks you through it. But changing Marketplace locations requires you to reset your phone, which returns it to its factory settings and erases things like apps, contacts, pictures and other information stored on the device. So you’ll want to keep that in mind, and make sure you’ve first saved what you can to the cloud or to your PC using the Zune software.

Looking ahead

What’s next for Marketplace? As the head of the engineering team responsible for our online store, I can tell you that we’re working on lots of great stuff, which I look forward to telling you about in the months ahead. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. And if you’re a developer, don’t miss Todd Brix’s related post today on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.