Enraged Chinese shoppers pelted Apple Inc’s flagship Beijing store with eggs and shoving matches broke out with police on Jan. 13 when customers were told the store would not begin sales of the iPhone 4S as scheduled.
Apple said later after the fracas at its store in Beijing’s trendy Sanlitun district that it would halt all retail sales of the latest iPhone in China for the time being, but said the phones would be available online.
An announcer with a bullhorn told the Sanlitun store crowd around 7am, before sunrise, that the phones would not go on sale as planned and that they should leave. As the crowd became more unruly, scuffles broke out between security staff and shoppers, many of whom had waited overnight in freezing weather. Police moved in and dragged some people away. Photos appeared on the Chinese blogosphere of a man who had brought raw eggs in a plastic bag, handing them out before people heaved them at the store’s glass windows.
The snafu lit up China’s microblog community. One commentator likened the queues to this month’s annual Spring Festival rush to buy train tickets home.
“If people had to make a choice, I think iPhone fans would rather buy an iPhone 4S than go home,” said the blogger.