Everybody knows things can get a little crazy at Apple stores in the U.S. when the company unveils a new product.
But things got extra crazy in Beijing today when a thousand or more would-be iPhone 4S customers gathered outside Apple’s store. They got rather angry when they learned that the company was postponing its plan to start selling the new phone there.
As The Associated Press reports, “angry customers and gangs of scalpers” started shouting and throwing eggs. Police had to be called in to calm things down. There’s video of the near-riot here.
Apple was concerned about what would happen — injuries, in particular — if it opened the store’s doors and people rushed in. That’s why it decided to keep the store closed. According to the AP, the phone “quickly sold out at [four] other Apple stores in China.” It will still be available for sale through Apple’s online store and at authorized resellers in the country.
“Apple has faced trouble with [Chinese] scalpers in the past grabbing up huge supplies of its products to sell to customers unable to find stock at authorized retail outlets,” CNET writes.
“People started converging Thursday outside the Apple store in one of Beijing’s most popular high-end malls. Some brought sleeping bags. Tension grew overnight and through the early morning as prospective buyers sought positions near the front door. Fights broke out between bands of migrant workers who had been hired by scalpers to purchase the phones for later sale on the gray market.
” ‘Ninety percent of the people here are scalpers,’ said a man surnamed Jin, who said friends recruited him to stand in line.”