“Apple Inc., whose skill at hyping new products has helped make it the world’s most valuable technology company, became a victim of its own success with a botched introduction of its iPhone 4S in China,” Bloomberg reports.
“Would-be customers who had endured a wait overnight as temperatures dropped to below minus 9 degrees Celsius reacted with fury after the company’s main store in Beijing failed to open,” Bloomberg reports. “Apple had advertised that the store would open at 7 a.m. At about 7:15 a.m., people began chanting ‘Open the door!’ and ‘Liars!’ after a man with a bullhorn said the phone would not go on sale today, without giving an explanation. Police cordoned off the store after it was pelted with eggs from the crowd.”
Bloomberg reports, “Elsewhere in the capital, the introduction went more smoothly. At Apple’s store in the Xidan neighborhood, the company handed out 1,000 tickets good for the purchase of a maximum two iPhone 4S handsets. In Shanghai, a store in the Pudong district opened an hour early to accommodate the waiting crowds. Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls and e-mails.”
Read more in the full article here.
Chris Chang reports for M.I.C. Gadget, “Lines outside the Apple store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district show no signs of shortening, causing frustration for the thousands of fans and scalpers desperate to get their hands on the iPhone 4S.”
“Now some of that disappointment is turning to anger, with reports of fights breaking out between gangs of scalpers, and guess what, Beijing SWAT teams arrived,” Chang reports. “So, the Apple store employees later announced that the launch of iPhone 4S is cancelled at the Apple’s flagship store in Beijing, and all scalpers are pissed.”
Chang reports, “There are over thousands of people at the scene and seems like 99% of them are scalpers, according to local media reports. And according to our tipster, the scalpers are well organized, and they are divided into teams, just like military forces. Each team includes 30-50 scalpers. As the clock struck seven, Apple DID NOT open its doors, and a number of scalpers became frustrated. The scalpers began to shout words of ‘Open the door!’ while some were shouting profanities at Apple.”
Much more in the full article, with many photos, here.
MacDailyNews Take: The scalpers in China are out-of-control, literally.
These are not true Apple customers. These are crass opportunists looking to cash in on Apple’s success. On Day One product launches, true Apple customers don’t throw eggs and shout profanities. Much. Certainly SWAT teams have never been called in on real Apple customer line ups. No true Apple customers want hundreds or even thousands of scalpers in line ahead of them buying up the store’s entire supply on Day One, so they can’t get what they’re lined up for unless they pay jacked up the prices to the same scalpers.
Apple needs to get handle on this. This problem in China is getting worse with each new Apple product launch. Contact the scalper syndicates and deliver a certain number of pallets of product to them on launch day if they promise to stay away from the Apple Retail Stores for the first week or so of new product introductions. If that’s not doable (and it likely isn’t for myriad reasons), figure something else out. One iPhone per customer with on-site activation, as suggested by Tom O’Connell below. Figure out something, Apple obviously can’t run product launches in China the way they can in Wauwatosa.
Huge throng of red cap scalpers crushes Shanghai Apple Store for iPhone 4S launch (with photo) – January 12, 2012
Hong Kong scalpers buy up iPhone 4S and resell them for big profit outside Apple Store (with video) – November 12, 2011
Police, scalpers, and customers clash in iPhone 4S queues at Hong Kong Apple Store – November 10, 2011
iPad 2, white iPhone 4 sparks scuffle outside Beijing Apple Store – May 9, 2011
Apple takes steps to curb rampant iPhone 4 scalping in China – October 11, 2010
Apple shuts flagship Beijing store as scalpers sap store’s iPhone 4 supply – September 30, 2010