Apple suspends iPhone 4S sales in mainland China retail stores

“The introduction of the Apple iPhone 4S in Beijing turned ugly Friday morning when Apple failed to open its flagship store and a frustrated crowd responded by pelting the store’s gleaming glass walls with eggs,” Sharon LaFraniere reports for The New York Times. “Apple said in a statement that it had temporarily suspended sales of all iPhones at its five mainland China stores for the safety of customers and employees. The phones will still be offered online, through Apple’s official partner, Unicom, and at authorized resellers. The statement did not say when Apple stores would resume selling the iPhone 4S.”

“Demand for iPhones in China far exceeds supply, which has spawned an army of scalpers who hire migrant workers to snap up products that the scalpers then resell at jacked-up prices. The horde of more than 1,000 people who gathered outside the store Friday in the Sanlitun district of Beijing Friday included organized teams of migrant workers, identifiable by matching armbands or hats,” LaFraniere reports. “Some of the migrant workers said they were bused in and promised payment of 100 renminbi, or about $16, for purchasing a phone. Wary of unrest, police ordered the store not to open, according to one source familiar with the situation.”

LaFraniere reports, “Furious, some would-be customers threw eggs. Police dispersed the crowd and temporarily cordoned off the store. Those recruited by scalpers were particularly angry: some said the store’s closure meant that they would get only 10 renminbi, meant as a food allowance, after standing in line all night in freezing temperatures.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Beijing’s iPhone 4S turmoil a lesson to Apple, say analysts – January 13, 2012
Beijing Apple Store pelted with eggs after iPhone 4S sales canceled due to scalper fights – January 12, 2012
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


  1. China: A criminal nation.

    Some of the migrant workers said they were bused in and promised payment of 100 renminbi

    China deserves its reputation and doesn’t deserve the sanity that is Apple or its products. What a hellhole.

    1. SCALPER GANGS ruin the day and the citizens decide to throw eggs at innocent and thoughtful Apple. They want and apology from Apple.

      Throw eggs at the SCALPERS folks. Get your ruined culture together again and become and HONEST country again. Get an apology from the CROOKS who ruined your day.

      Apple: Please turn your back on corrupt China and get the hell out.

  2. People in this thread are majorly overreacting to this, saying things like “get out of China.” As if that will happen.

    Just raise the price for the first few weeks, or wait until you get enough volume to handle the demand. Do online-only for a while. Then start selling in stores.

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