Summary from AFP:
Four people were taken to hospital and a glass door smashed as a near-riot broke out at Beijing’s top Apple store among crowds rushing to snap up the popular iPad 2 tablet computer, according to state press.
Angry consumers began rushing the store on Saturday afternoon after a “foreign” Apple employee allegedly stepped into the crowd to push and beat people suspected of queue jumping, the Beijing News said.
Consumers have lined up for hours at Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai since the iPad 2, the updated version of the tablet computer, went on sale in the world’s biggest Internet market on Friday.
The store in Beijing’s chic Sanlitun commercial district closed early Saturday because of the altercation, but according to a voice recording on the store’s phone was open for business Sunday.
Lines for the popular iPad 2 have grown so long that people have begun selling their places in the queue, while a secondary market has also developed with consumers reselling their tablet computers for profit after leaving the store, the report said.
Late Saturday, the store posted a notice saying that queue jumping and the unauthorized sales of Apple products would not be tolerated, the paper said.
We called Apple Inc. for comment. Here is what Apple spokesperson Amy Bessette told us over the phone:
The Apple store Sanlitun was closed for several hours on Saturday after a group outside the store became unruly. The store team acted to protect themselves and our customers by closing its doors and preventing the groups’ entering. The safety of our customers and employees is out top priority.
NTD News story from Monday, May 9
Massive queues outside Apple stores (Yahoo.com)
Consumers have lined up for hours at Apple stores (gothamist.com)
Four people were taken to hospital and a glass door smashed as a scuffle broke out at Apple’s Sanlitun retail store in Beijing last Saturday, 7 May, 2011 (AP)