Phones

Apple Keeps iPhone 4S Sales Online Only in China

Apple has been forced to suspend sales of the iPhone 4S in China after crowd trouble outside an Apple Store in Beijing.

Apple had said the store would open at 7am local time but it was still closed at 7.15am, according to the report. The store stayed closed for safety reasons, with a man telling the crowds that the iPhone 4S would not go on sale via a megaphone.

Apple canceled its sales at its Beijing stores, prompting a customer to throw eggs at one store. Source: IDG News Service
However, the crowd -- many of whom had queued all night in temperatures dropping as low as minus nine degrees celcius -- didn't react well to the news, chanting "liars!" and "open the door!" before pelting the store with eggs.

Police were called to disperse the crowd and the store was cordoned off. Stores in the country that did open were said to have sold out of the iPhone 4S within hours and Apple confirmed that sales of the handset had been suspended "for the time being" in all of the company's five retail outlets in the country. (See also "Beijing's iPhone 4S Turmoil a Lesson to Apple, Say Analysts.").

At another store in Beijing's Xidan district, 60 migrant workers apparently queued all night to buy the iPhone 4S on behalf of resellers but were unable to get their hands on the device, meaning they didn't get paid, according to the report.

An Apple spokesman told All Things D that Chinese customers were still able to order the iPhone 4S online and through carrier partners.

"Unfortunately we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being. Customers can still order iPhone through the Apple Online Store, or buy at China Unicom and other authorized resellers," the spokesman said.

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