Beijing Apple Store Pelted with Eggs After iPhone 4S Launch Cancelled

Jan 13, 2012 4:56am

It seems that a few bad eggs ruined it for all of those in Beijing who were hoping to get their hands on an iPhone 4S, which officially launched Friday in China.

Literally.

Eggs were launched at the Apple’s flagship store in the Sanlitun area of Beijing after the American tech giant cancelled the sale of iPhones over safety concerns.

More than 1000 eager customers waited overnight in the freezing cold at Beijing’s Sanlitun Village outdoor shopping center anticipating the official launch of the popular iPhone 4S in China.

Among the crowd were reportedly gangs of scalpers who wanted to scoop up the first batch of the popular smartphones with the intent of reselling them immediately. The gangs reportedly employed teams of migrant workers to stand on line overnight. Movie extras were hired straight from outside the Beijing film studios and brought in by buses to get their hands on the phones, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Lines began to form Thursday afternoon outside the Apple’s Beijing flagship store. The crowd reportedly swelled to as many as 2,000 overnight which apparently started to worry Apple employees.

They had every reason to — Chinese customers are known to be passionate about Apple products and especially passionate about the iPhones. Last May, during the launch of the previous model, iPhone 4, the same Sanlitun store was closed for several hours after a fight broke out between an employee and a customer.

When the stored failed to open Friday morning, the crowd erupted. A person with a megaphone soon announced the sale was canceled, and some disappointed customers then began launching raw eggs at the store. No word on why some in the crowd were prepared with shopping bags full of eggs. Breakfast maybe?

“On the one hand there is poor organization and on the other there were just too many people,” a man who would give only his surname, Miao told the Associated Press. “I don’t think they prepared well enough.”

Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu issued a statement saying, “we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, the iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.”

China is Apple’s fastest-growing market. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently called China “an area of enormous opportunity.” It is in fact Apple’s fastest growing market, accounting for one-sixth of Apple’s global sales and growing.

The egg pelting seems to be only limited to the one Beijing store, and by all indication it seemed the Shanghai launch went without much of hitch. Photos began surfacing throughout the day from outside the Shanghai Apple stores of customers proudly displaying their new iPhone 4S, the Shanghainese clearly thumbing their noses at the disappointed Beijingers.

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