China suspends sale of iPhone 4S after clashes

China suspends sale of iPhone 4S after clashes

Apple announced Friday that it has suspended the sale of the iPhone in its stores in China, in order to "ensure the safety of (its) customers and (its) employees" following the scuffles during the launch of the latest version of the Apple brand phone.

“The demand for the iPhone 4S has been incredible, and the stocks in our stores in China are strong”, according to the press release published at the beginning of the afternoon, which specifies the iPhone remains available online and at authorized resellers. “Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store in Sanlitun (Pkin) because of the crowds”, Apple explained.

An Apple spokesperson told AFP that the sale of all iPhone models, not just the latest 4S, has been suspended in Apple Stores in China: three Shanghai and two Pkin.

The craze for cell phones of the American brand is such that chauffoures burst Friday in front of the store in the Sanlitun district in the capital where were massed a thousand people, who had waited in vain for several hours Friday morning in the cold to be the first to buy an iPhone 4S.

Eggs thrown on the windows.

Customers threw eggs against the storefront, where the last of the brand's phones was to be officially offered to customers at 7 am Police intervened to ask the crowd to leave, saying that the iPhone 4S would not go on sale immediately. Frustrated customers then attacked a security guard outside the store, AFP said.

Some people said they were paid 100 yuan (12.35 euros) by street vendors to take their place in the queue. According to the site, fights between resellers who broke out in front of the store overnight are the origin of the decision to postpone the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Although its official launch in mainland China did not take place until Friday, the iPhone 4S was already on sale on the black market in China since October, models having been illegally imported from Hong Kong, Japan or the United States, in particular .

China has more than half a billion Internet users, 340 million of whom access the Internet on their mobile phones, Gao Xinmin, an official with the Internet Society of China, said on Wednesday.

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(Source and photo credit: AFP.)

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