Apple Inc., whose skill at hyping new products helped make it the world’s most valuable technology company, became a victim of its own success after a botched introduction of its iPhone 4S in China led it to suspend sales.
Would-be customers who waited overnight as temperatures dropped below minus 9 degrees Celsius reacted with fury after the company’s main store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district failed to open. The company sold out of the handsets at stores that did open and later halted sales of all iPhones at its five retail outlets in the country “for the time being,” spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said by phone.
Apple had advertised that the store would open at 7 a.m. At 7:15 a.m., people began chanting “Open the door!” and “Liars!” after an unidentified man said over a bullhorn that the phone wouldn’t go on sale today, without giving an explanation. The store stayed closed “for safety reasons,” Wu said. Beijing police temporarily cordoned off the shop after it was pelted with eggs by the crowd.
Apple has more than 300 outlets worldwide and planned to sell the latest iPhone model through its three stores in Shanghai, two in Beijing, the two main cities in the world’s largest mobile-phone market.