Don’t buy an Apple product in China on launch day unless you have some riot gear on you. This past weekend, the iPad 2 launched there and what started off as orderly in the nation’s capital quickly became downright bloody. They are serious about their Apple products.
It all started at Beijing’s flagship store located in Sanlitun, an area that caters to China’s moneyed, as people lined up outside to get their hands on the device. But as some people can attest to, lining up and patiently waiting your turn isn’t a common social norm practiced by the general public. Accusations of line-jumping abound and while details are sketchy, reports say a laowai (the Chinese term for “foreigner”) employee attacked four people waiting in line with a metal bar. Yikes.
The Global Times says that the employee asked a prospective customer to leave, because he was in the “wrong” line. The customer refused, believing he was correct, and that’s when things became physical. Whatever happened, no one can deny the smashed-in glass windows and the hospitalization of four people, leaving a bloody smear on a country where public displays of aggression are rarely this public.
During the days following the iPhone 4 launch last year, people banged against glass windows of the same store, eventually forcing them to shut down the store early and call for security reinforcements. In a bizarre twist, Apple employees trapped inside the store filmed the unruly Beijing crowd.
Apple only has four retail stores in all of China. Four stores for approximately 1.3 billion people? Hmm, I think it’s time to open up some more stores there.
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