Bloomberg: The debut of the iPhone 4S in China turned ugly yesterday, leading Apple to temporarily halt sales at its stores in the country. At the flagship Beijing store, large crowds gathered overnight, despite temperatures that sank to 48 degrees. When the store failed to open within 15 minutes of the promised time, the crowd began chanting, “Let us in!” and “Liars!” When someone announced that the store would not open for safety reasons, some members of the crowd threw eggs at the building, and the police had to cordon off the store.
The launch went much more smoothly at China’s other Apple Stores, but observers say the Beijing incident could hurt the company’s image. “This is a debacle,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group. “Everybody knows there will be massive numbers of people when Apple has this kind of a launch. This shows very poor retail management ability.”