Apple Store in Beijing Egged Over iPhone 4S Delay

  on January 13 2012 8:54 AM
A crowd stands outside an Apple store in Beijing
A crowd stands outside an Apple store in Beijing Reuters

And you thought Americans were crazy for their Apple iPhones. Chinese citizens apparently have more zest for the iPhone than we do, and it's left Apple with a bit of egg on a flagship store.

Angry customers in China reportedly threw eggs at Apple's flagship store in Beijing on Friday after the iPhone 4S launch was delayed by the company due to concerns over crowd size. The iPhone 4S will be sold online and through carriers, Apple said, but the company wanted to spare employees and customers from danger of overcrowding, scalping, and potential dangerous and hostile demand in stores.

The solution: postponing the scheduled iPhone 4S launch in its Beijing store.

The crowd reaction: egging the store and hurling insults.

A crowd of more than 1,000 had gathered outside Apple's flagship store in Beijing's Sanlitun district for the iPhone 4S launch and, according to The Associated Press, it including migrant workers hired by scalpers in team of 20 to 30 to buy iPhones for resale at a markup to Chinese gadget fans. They reportedly waited overnight in freezing temperatures. But when the store didn't open at 7 a.m. as planned they became a bit hostile.

Police reportedly told the crowd to leave and the area was sealed off with yellow tape as eggs and shouts at employees were hurled.

We were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being, said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu, according to AP.

But while the Beijing store didn't open, others in China did, and the company reports that the iPhone 4S quickly sold out. Wu said the Apple will still sell the iPhone 4S in China, but through online, carrier China Unicom Ltd., and authorized reseller retailers.

The New York Times reported that police initially ordered the Beijing store not to open due to the crowd size. In May, four people were injured when a crowd waiting outside Apple's Beijing store turned disorderly during the company's iPad 2 release. The store was closed for a period due to that instance.

Apple's iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world and China is the company's fastest growing market.

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