Apple has suspended sales of the iPhone 4S in China, after physical fights greeted a delay to its launch in one of the world’s biggest mobile markets.
Watch a video of the flashpoint at the launch below
The Cupertino giant was forced into the move when unexpectedly large crowds massed to buy the phone at its flagship store in Beijing’s Sanitlun district. Fearing a crowd-control issue, an Apple rep told the would-be buyers that it had opted to postpone the launch.
Ironically, the upshot of the announcement was to ramp up tension further, causing outbreaks of fisticuffs, abuse thrown at staff and eggs pelted at the store windows.
Similar scenes were in evidence at the Shanghai store, also prompting Apple into scrapping plans to start selling the handset at its outlet in the city.
Carolyn Wu, spokesperson for Apple, said: “Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said: 'We were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd and, to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being."
The sales embargo only covers sales of the handset in brick and mortar stores in China. Consumers can still pick up the handset online on contract deals.