China: iPhone 4S launch delayed due to crowd trouble, Beijing store pelted with eggs

china-apple-storeThe unbridled whooping and frenzied high-fiving that usually marks the first day of sales of a new product at an Apple store were replaced at the company’s flagship Beijing store on Friday morning by arguments, fights and even a spot of egg throwing.

The product causing emotions to run high is Apple’s iPhone 4S smartphone, set for its first day of sales in China on Friday. According to AppleInsider, thousands of hopeful buyers gathered at its five stores in Beijing and Shanghai, with the unruly behavior occurring outside its Sanlitun location in Beijing.

As a result, the doors of its retail store, which were meant to open at 7am local time, currently remain firmly closed.

The trouble apparently blew up when some of those waiting in line clashed with scalpers. AppleInsider reported a journalist at the scene as saying Apple had postponed the launch of the iPhone 4S because “fights had broken out during the night,” with some in the crowd saying Apple would now only take orders for the device instead of distributing it to waiting shoppers, fearing more trouble if they were to do so.

Bloomberg, however, has reported further unruly behavior, with some disappointed shoppers chanting “open the door.” Others even began throwing eggs at the store.

When consumers in China do finally get to hand over their cash for the iPhone 4S, they’ll be paying 4,988RMB ($790) for the 16GB model, with the 32GB version going for 5,888RMB ($932). The 64GB device will sell for 6,788RMB ($1,075). China Unicom is currently the only provider in the country to offer the phone with a contract.

Friday’s incident isn’t the first time Apple’s flagship store in Beijing has seen trouble. When the iPad 2 went on sale there last year, a brawl broke out among the waiting crowds that resulted in the store’s doors being smashed.


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