Apple suspends iPhone sales at China stores

PTI Beijing | Updated on January 13, 2012 Published on January 13, 2012

Apple said today that it was suspending the sales of the new iPhone at its China stores after fans, desperate to get their hands on it, fought with security and threw eggs at an official outlet.

Police detained at least two people outside the Beijing shop on Friday, when angry crowds who had queued for hours in freezing temperatures for the Chinese launch of the iPhone 4S, were left furious after being refused entry.

Apple said its other mainland China stores — another in Beijing and three in Shanghai — had sold out of the new device within hours.

“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.

“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, iPhones will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time-being.”

Apple said customers could still order iPhones online and at other authorised retailers in China. A worker at a small, downtown China Unicom shop said 80 iPhone 4S models had sold out in four hours.

Reselling is a major industry in China, where the new iPhone has been on sale for months at a premium on the black market, after being smuggled in from neighbouring countries and from Hong Kong.

The new model, whose features include a high-definition video camera and a quick-witted artificial intelligence “personal assistant” named Siri, had its global launch in October.

Published on January 13, 2012
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