iPhone 4S Sales Canceled at Beijing and Shanghai Apple Stores

Published on January 12, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images

Apple has decided to postpone the retail availability of its new iPhone 4S at some stores in mainland China, after a rowdy crowd disrupted the device’s debut at its Sanlitun store in Beijing.

Would-be customers — many of whom had waited overnight in the freezing cold to be among the first to purchase the latest iPhone — became so unruly when the store failed to open its doors on time that Apple was forced to cancel first-day sales there. Further inflaming the situation: organized groups of scalpers paid to purchase iPhones for later resale at exorbitant prices.

So rather than risk a repeat of the incident, which ended in profanity, egg-throwing and a few scuffles, the company decided not to sell the 4S at any of its retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai. Instead, it will sell the device through its Web site and carrier partners.

“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible, and our stores in China have already sold out,” an Apple spokesman told AllThingsD. “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 declined to say when it planned to resume sales of the 4S at its Beijing and Shanghai stores.

(Image courtesy of Feng Li/Getty Images)

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