Apple postpones China retail launch of iPhone 4S after unruly crowd rages in Beijing [u]

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


After an unruly crowd disrupted the release of Apple's iPhone 4S at its flagship location in Beijing, Apple has decided to postpone the sale of its best-selling handset at its official retail locations in China, though the device will still be available through its carrier partner and authorized resellers [updated].



Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to AllThingsD that it will delay sales of the iPhone 4S at retail locations in Beijing and Shanghai.



“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible, and our stores in China have already sold out,” an Apple spokesperson told the publication. “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.”



Apple retail staff at the Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing put signs out Friday afternoon with a note saying, "This store will not be selling the iPhone in the recent future."



Apple had previously announced that the iPhone 4S would go on sale at its Sanlitun retail store in Beijing at 7AM local time (6PM Eastern), but altercations between scalpers and line-waiters have allegedly delayed the launch. As of 8AM, the store had yet to open.



The imminent launch of Apple's latest handset in China had attracted thousands of customers outside the company's five stores throughout the country. Security barricades had originally been set up to manage the crowd at the Sanlitun store earlier in the week, but they were taken down sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning.





Remnants of the crowd outside Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing early on Friday, Jan. 13.







One journalist on location in Beijing claimed that Apple had canceled the launch because fights had broken out during the night, while some crowd members claimed Apple would take orders for the iPhone 4S at the store on Friday without distributing the devices.



Groups of professional line-waiters and scalpers could be seen congregating outside the store early Friday. As the 7AM launch time came and went without Apple opening its doors, a number of them became disgruntled. Shouts of "Open the door!" rang periodically rang throughout the crowd. At one point, a group of unhappy line-waiters left shouting profanities at Apple. Several individuals were forcefully escorted away by security officials, though it was not immediately clear why they were being removed.



Bloomberg reported on Friday that some angry customers pelted the Apple Store with eggs after it was revealed that the device would not go on sale. According to the publication, the Apple Store in the Pudong district of Shanghai opened an hour early and has begun selling the iPhone 4S.





Police officers cordoned off the Sanlitun Apple store in Beijing on Friday.




The 16GB iPhone 4S is selling for 4,988RMB ($790) on Apple China's online store, while the 32GB and 64GB models sell for 5,888RMB and 6,788RMB, respectively. Estimated shipping time is currently two weeks. China Unicom is also offering iPhone 4S for free with a multi-year contract on plans starting at 286RMB ($45).



The well-organized secondary market in Beijing has led to conflicts at the Sanlitun store in the past. Last year, the release of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 was marred by an incident that resulted in a broken glass door and several injuries.



In addition to China, Apple is scheduled to launch the iPhone 4S in 21 more countries on Friday.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    Odd. I'm sure Apple will release an explanation for why they didn't open on time.



    "?FFFFFF-"



    Now, hang on. Did I say anywhere in there that it couldn't possibly have been Apple's fault they didn't open on time? No. Thank you. Not taking their side, not taking the crowd's side. I'm just curious why Apple wouldn't have met their goal.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Given that the whole scalpers etc game is quite well known I don't understand why Apple didn't do this launch as by reservation only, or perhaps only phones that were activated under a contract, no cash purchases or some other system to limit such games.



    Or at least have tons of security there, hand out numbers or such to prevent line jumpers, fights etc.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,775member
    Why, why, WHY does Apple not take a more proactive role in prevent this sort of melee? It seems the Chinese market is more prone to scalpers and line-cutters that something really needs to be done to provide a fair and safe environment for folks that wait in line for hours.



    This can be easily dismissed as something regular security folks should handle, but Apple should set some kind of standard.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Has anyone ever become unruly over the launch of an Android or Windows Phone 7?
  • Reply 5 of 66
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Chinese scalpers suck in New York, I personally witnessed that. And apparently, Chinese scalpers suck in China too.



    Scalpers are lowlifes and it's no surprise that altercations break out between the lowlifes and the real Apple customers who are patiently waiting in line. These scumbags cut in line and try to bully their way to the front.



    I'd like to see more altercations happening, with the outcome being that the scalpers end up getting the short end of the stick. Some of them belong in hospitals and not on an Apple line.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    ch2coch2co Posts: 41member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Odd. I'm sure Apple will release an explanation for why they didn't open on time.



    "?FFFFFF-"



    Now, hang on. Did I say anywhere in there that it couldn't possibly have been Apple's fault they didn't open on time? No. Thank you. Not taking their side, not taking the crowd's side. I'm just curious why Apple wouldn't have met their goal.



    And you would open your store's doors to an unruly crowd of crazy people?

    No I did';t think so
  • Reply 7 of 66
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Has anyone ever become unruly over the launch of an Android or Windows Phone 7?



    With so many Android launches every year, it limits the crowd that might swell for a single device. Windows Phones actually get released? Launch dates for Windows phones haven't gotten the most traffic on the net that I have seen honestly.



    As to the crowds, sucks for them that it wasn't open when they said it would be, but shit happens. I'm curious how much delay there was before they did open the doors. Clearly those people never had to wait on Axl Rose tocome onstage for a performance, that kinda thing will get you used to waiting
  • Reply 8 of 66
    Too bad there's so much trouble for iPhone sales. Getting an iPhone should be a happy occasion. In the U.S. the crowds and lines seem rather tame and civil. i've only been to a couple of Apple store openings and everyone around me seemed to be having a grand old time. I'd always heard that American were the pushy and forceful ones and the Chinese are into some calm Zen space.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    I can't imagine what would happen here in the States if a certain shoe was released..........
  • Reply 10 of 66
    Just another confirmation of my previous post on this - 99% of the people waiting there are either professional line-waiters or scalpers....
  • Reply 11 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Chinese scalpers suck in New York, I personally witnessed that. And apparently, Chinese scalpers suck in China too.



    Scalpers are lowlifes and it's no surprise that altercations break out between the lowlifes and the real Apple customers who are patiently waiting in line. These scumbags cut in line and try to bully their way to the front.



    I'd like to see more altercations happening, with the outcome being that the scalpers end up getting the short end of the stick. Some of them belong in hospitals and not on an Apple line.



    Lowlifes or not, the new iPhone represents an opportunity for a huge mark-up and profit for scalpers. Whenever demand outstrips supply to this degree, the opportunists will come out of the woodwork.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    tommcintommcin Posts: 108member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    Has anyone ever become unruly over the launch of an Android or Windows Phone 7?





    Only after they start trying to use it.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post


    With so many Android launches every year, it limits the crowd that might swell for a single device.



    Of course! That explains it. <smacks own forehead>



  • Reply 14 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TomMcIn View Post


    Only after they start trying to use it.



    Or when they try to return it.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Lowlifes or not, the new iPhone represents an opportunity for a huge mark-up and profit for scalpers. Whenever demand outstrips supply to this degree, the opportunists will come out of the woodwork.



    and all the best to the scalpers, if money can be made, go for it. You never jump at any occasion to make some coin on the side?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    Too bad there's so much trouble for iPhone sales. Getting an iPhone should be a happy occasion. In the U.S. the crowds and lines seem rather tame and civil. i've only been to a couple of Apple store openings and everyone around me seemed to be having a grand old time. I'd always heard that American were the pushy and forceful ones and the Chinese are into some calm Zen space.



    If you only lived here. If I dont push into lines/trains/entrances/buses here, I'll never get anywhere and just be walked on. Its everyman for himself. only civilized places are some western restaurants, my office building and my apartment.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    I loved living in Korea very dearly, but china was especially unpleasant. I never want to go back there again.



    Crudeness and rudeness and an uncouth disposition is a well-practiced art there. So much for 5,000 years of culture.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    Too bad there's so much trouble for iPhone sales. Getting an iPhone should be a happy occasion. In the U.S. the crowds and lines seem rather tame and civil. i've only been to a couple of Apple store openings and everyone around me seemed to be having a grand old time. I'd always heard that American were the pushy and forceful ones and the Chinese are into some calm Zen space.



    You have lived a sheltered life.



    It should be noticeable on your very first bus/taxi/car ride in Southeast Asia. Those lines painted on the road? They're just a laughable suggestion at where you should place your vehicle, but nobody follows them.



    Queuing up/standing in an orderly line is a tradition that is mostly restricted to English-speaking countries. Want to get into a bus in Italy? Just push forward when the doors open.
  • Reply 18 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    Too bad there's so much trouble for iPhone sales. Getting an iPhone should be a happy occasion. In the U.S. the crowds and lines seem rather tame and civil. i've only been to a couple of Apple store openings and everyone around me seemed to be having a grand old time. I'd always heard that American were the pushy and forceful ones and the Chinese are into some calm Zen space.



    Uh, Chinese are calm and Zen. That's a laugh. The Chinese are some of the rudest, pushiest, dirtiest people I have ever come across! Come spend a week out here with me in San Francisco, and you'll have a change of thought!
  • Reply 19 of 66
    801801 Posts: 271member
    I would think that this does not bode well for chinese culture in the long run.
  • Reply 20 of 66
    kpomkpom Posts: 655member
    Oddly, the other store in Beijing opened up as normal and was selling phones. it would be as if Apple had closed the 5th Avenue store but kept the Upper West Side open. Anyway, I'm guessing that it has something to do with crowd control. Apple is clearly learning how to do retail business in China, and hopefully they'll be better planned when the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 are released. Apple doesn't need the kind of bad publicity this is sure to get.
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