Enraged shoppers pelt Beijing Apple store with eggs

BEIJING Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:23am IST

A man is dragged away by police after he refused to leave from the front of the Apple store in the Beijing district of Sanlitun January 13, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

A man is dragged away by police after he refused to leave from the front of the Apple store in the Beijing district of Sanlitun January 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

Related Topics

Stocks

   

BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc's flagship Beijing store was pelted with eggs on Friday when hundreds of enraged shoppers, many of whom had waited in line overnight, were told the store would not begin sales of the iPhone 4S as scheduled.

Shoppers and security staff scuffled before daybreak after an announcer with a bullhorn told the surging crowd that the phones would not go on sale and that they should go home.

Apple's latest iPhone, with voice-activated technology, was being introduced in China on Friday to great anticipation. But fears of chaos given the unruly crowd outside the store apparently prompted the cancellation.

"I got in line around 11 p.m., and beyond the line the plaza was chock full with people," said Huang Xiantong, 26, outside the store in Beijing's trendy Sanlitun district.

"Around 5 a.m. the crowds in the plaza broke through and the line disappeared entirely. Everyone was fighting, several people were hurt," said Huang, who wanted to buy a new iPhone for his girlfriend. "The police just started hitting people. They were just brawling."

Customers demanded explanations, and some, who had had the thought to bring raw eggs with them in plastic bags, perhaps anticipating problems, heaved them at the store's tall glass windows.

"I've been waiting here since yesterday afternoon, then this morning they say they won't sell," said a man in his 20s outside the store. "They broke customers' hearts," the man told Reuters TV. "Apple isn't acting decently."

"We're suffering from cold and hunger," shouted another man in his 20s. "They said they're not going to sell to us. Why? Why?"

The crowds had left the store by about 10:00 a.m.

Apple's other store in Beijing, where the crowd was more orderly, sold out of its 2,000 iPhone 4S supply by 9:00 a.m., according to Chinese television news.

Apple's products are wildly popular with Chinese customers, who are eager to be early adopters and get the latest technology first. Official resellers are opening stores at a fast pace and counterfeit Apple products abound.

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died last October, an impromptu memorial sprang up at the Sanlitun store with flowers and notes left in his memory. His official biography, translated into Chinese, is on prominent display in bookstores.

While the iPhone 4S has already been available elsewhere in Asia, it was only scheduled to go on sale in China on Friday.

Apple representatives in China and the United States were not immediately available for comment.

(Additional reporting by Yang Ziyuan and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Don Durfee, Ken Wills and Matt Driskill)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

AMAZON

TECH SHOWCASE

Rising Market Value

Rising Market Value

Facebook goes express to mega-cap status  Full Article 

Right to be Forgotten

Right to be Forgotten

Google under fire from regulators over response to EU privacy ruling.  Full Article 

Record Smartphone Sales

Record Sales

LG Electronics flags further mobile improvement after Q2 profit jump.  Full Article 

Smartwatch

Smartwatch

Swatch Group denies working with Apple on smartwatch.  Full Article 

Strong Results

Strong Results

Nokia's fortunes brighten on heavy network spending.  Full Article 

Battle of Giants

Battle of Giants

In China, Apple's focus pays off while Samsung feels squeeze.  Full Article 

Anonymity Services

Anonymity Services

Flaws could expose users of privacy-protecting software, researchers say.  Full Article 

Biggest Chipmaker

Biggest Chipmaker

China regulator determines Qualcomm has monopoly - state-run newspaper.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage