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Apple suspends iPhone 4S sales in China after crowd trouble

Customers react with fury after Beijing store fails to open

Apple has been forced to suspend sales of the iPhone 4S in China after crowd trouble outside an Apple Store in Beijing, according to reports.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has suspended the launch of the iPhone 4S in the country after crowds outside the company's main store in Beijing's Sanlitun district turned nasty.

Apple had said the store would open at 7am local time but it was still closed at 7.15am, according to the report. The store stayed closed for safety reasons, with a man telling the crowds that the iPhone 4S would not go on sale via a megaphone.

However, the crowd - many of whom had queued all night in temperatures dropping as low as minus nine degrees celcius - didn't react well to the news, chanting "liars!" and "open the door!" before pelting the store with eggs.

Police were called to disperse the crowd and the store was cordoned off. According to Bloomberg, stores in the country that did open sold out of the iPhone 4S within hours and Apple confirmed that sales of the handset had been suspended "for the time being" in all of the company's five retail outlets in the country.

At another store in Beijing's Xidan district, 60 migrant workers apparently queued all night to buy the iPhone 4S on behalf of resellers but were unable to get their hands on the device, meaning they didn't get paid, according to the report.

An Apple spokesman told All Things D that Chinese customers were still able to order the iPhone 4S online and through carrier partners.

"Unfortunately 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 available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being. Customers can still order iPhone through the Apple Online Store, or buy at China Unicom and other authorized resellers," the spokesman said.

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