After announcing they had sold out of the iPhone 4S at five authorized outlets in China, Apple has halted sales of the smartphone, citing safety concerns after an uproar came from angry customers who threw eggs at stores in Beijing and Shanghai.
People who had been waiting overnight to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone 4S in China were turned away as five authorized outlets ran out of the popular smartphones. Frustrated customers threw eggs at a Beijing Apple storefront and voiced their anger at managers who refused to open their stores as scheduled.
Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu, based in Beijing, said because of the large number of people in the crowds and the fact that the stores had run out of the iPhone 4S phones, the company’s stores were forced to close their doors. “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,” Wu said.
Customer’s still hoping to get their hands on the iPhone 4S in China are advised that they can still order it online through its service provider, China Unicom, which is selling the phone for free to those who sign up for multi-year contracts with the provider. The only problem is that many of the people lined up outside the now closed stores were not looking to get cellphone contracts, they wanted the phone and were willing to put down up to $1000 in some cases for it.
Reports indicate that many of the outraged customers who waited outside the Apple stores were scalpers. Apple stores limit customer’s purchases in China so scalpers organize large groups during product releases in hopes that they can resell the products above retail price. Apple is an incredibly popular brand in China and the nation has one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cell phones, lap tops and similar electronics.
Apple has five official stores in China, three located in Shanghai and two located in Beijing. All together, according to Apple, these five stores reportedly make more on average than any other Apple store in the world.
Source: Los Angeles Times