iPhone 4S launch turns ugly in China

One store fails to open its doors and ends up being pelted with eggs
Darren Allan

January 13, 2012
iPhone 4S

When it comes to the launch of a new iPhone, we all know the drill.

If you’re a fanatic Apple device lover, that is, wanting to get your hands on the latest iPhone as soon as possible.

Guaranteeing your Apple smartphone involves queueing up overnight, or at the very least extremely early on the morning of the launch, just to ensure there’ll be stock left by the time you get into the shop.

The iPhone 4S was no exception over here, and it’s just been officially launched in China – sort of.

There were the usual queues of hundreds of people outside Apple’s Beijing stores, but at the Sanlitun district shop, the launch went badly awry. In fact, it didn’t actually happen.

Come the opening time of 7am, the doors remained firmly closed, and shortly afterwards it was announced that the launch was being cancelled, and there weren’t any iPhone 4S devices for sale.

Needless to say, those who had queued up in the bitter cold overnight weren’t too impressed with this development, and angry chants started up directed at the store’s staff.

Particularly displeased were the migrant workers paid a small sum by so-called “scalpers” to purchase a phone (which is then sold on for a profit given the stock shortages).

Eggs were even hurled at the expansive glass frontage of the Sanlitun shop.

Which led to security staff going after those egging, and the crowd turning generally nasty, until the police turned up in force.

Apple says that they decided not to open the store because the crowd was too large, and they feared for the staff’s safety, according to an article on Information Week.

It seems the other Apple shop in Beijing was selling the 4S, at least for a short period until stock ran out.

Apparently all sales of the iPhone in China have now been suspended as a temporary “safety measure”, although punters can still order the smartphone online, of course.

There has previously been much controversy in the country regarding fake Apple stores, mock shops set up by conmen who sell counterfeit versions of iPhones and iPads.


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