2012-01-13 / World

Beijing Apple store egged


A POLICEMAN, center, tries to disperse a crowd as a notice reading “iPhone 4S was temporary out of stock” is on display at the entrance to an Apple store in Beijing today. 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A POLICEMAN, center, tries to disperse a crowd as a notice reading “iPhone 4S was temporary out of stock” is on display at the entrance to an Apple store in Beijing today. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BEIJING ( AP) — Angry customers and gangs of scalpers threw eggs at Apple Inc.’s Beijing store today after the iPhone 4S launch there was canceled due to concerns over the crowd’s size.

Apple reacted to the outburst by postponing iPhone 4S sales in its mainland China stores to protect customers and employees. The phone still will be sold online and through its local carrier.

The incident highlighted Apple’s huge popularity in China and the role of middlemen who buy up limited supplies of iPhones and other products or smuggle them from abroad for resale to Chinese gadget fans at a big markup.

Hundreds of customers including migrant workers hired by scalpers in teams of 20 to 30 waited overnight in freezing weather at the Apple store in a shopping mall in Beijing’s east side Sanlitun district.

The crowd erupted after the store failed to open on schedule at 7 a.m. Some threw eggs and shouted at employees through the windows.

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