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Apple store in Beijing pelted with eggs over iPhone 4S

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Apple's flagship retail store in Beijing has been pelted with eggs today (January 13) after shoppers who had queued overnight to get the iPhone 4S were informed that the store could not begin sales as expected.

Just before daybreak local time, an announcer informed the crowd that Apple's latest smartphone was not going on sale and they should go home, leading to clashes between shoppers and security staff, reports Reuters.

There has been huge anticipation in China for today's launch of the iPhone 4S, which features an improved 8MP camera and voice-activated assistant Siri. But eager shoppers outside the store in Beijing's Sanlitun district soon became unruly after the apparent delay in sales.

Apple Inc. fans wait in line in front of a shop in Tokyo to buy its new iPhone 4S

© PA Images / Itsuo Inouye/AP

Eggs














"I got in line around 11pm [the previous evening], and beyond the line the plaza was chockfull with people," said 26-year-old Huang Xiantong.

"Around 5am the crowds in the plaza broke through and the line disappeared entirely. Everyone was fighting, several people were hurt. The police just started hitting people. They were just brawling."

Other customers started throwing eggs at the store's glass windows, after growing dissatisfied with the lack of explanation from staff.

A man in his 20s outside the store told Reuters TV that staff at the Apple shop had broken "customers' hearts" with the sales cancellation.

"I've been waiting here since yesterday afternoon, then this morning they say they won't sell," he said. "They broke customers' hearts. Apple isn't acting decently."

Another man, also in his 20s, added: "We're suffering from cold and hunger. They said they're not going to sell to us. Why? Why?"

People queue at the Apple Store in Regents Street, London, as they wait to buy the iPhone 4S

© PA Images / Lewis Whyld/PA Wire



The crowds dispersed from the store by about 10am. At Apple's other outlet in Beijing, crowds were more orderly and all 2,000 iPhone 4S units were sold by 9am local time, reported Chinese television news.

> Apple iPhone 4S swears at 10-year-old boy

Apple is keen to expand its operation in China to tap into the massive growing consumer market in the Asian country - and there certainly seems to be appetite for its brand and products.

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died last October, a memorial featuring flowers and notes appeared at the flagship Beijing store, while the technology visionary's biography has also since been translated into Chinese.

Products from the US firm are widely available in China, but Apple has also been dogged by counterfeit sellers, including completely fake Apple stores being discovered last year.

The world's most valuable technology firm also recently suffered the blow of losing a key trademark battle in China over its iPad tablet, meaning it is technically selling a product that infringes another firm's trademark.

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