Apple's iPad 2 was officially released in China on Friday, and the device, along with the new white iPhone 4, was greeted by long lines of shoppers (and scalpers) eager to snap up the gadgets. The iPad 2 sold out in just four hours. But the launch didn't go quite as smoothly as Apple might have hoped, as a "bloody altercation" broke out at one Beijing store. Here, a guide to the incident:
Many details remain unclear, but Chinese customers and "foreign" Apple employees apparently got into a scuffle at a store in Beijing's "high-end" Sanlitun Village shopping center. Witnesses suggest that a Chinese man who wanted to buy and resell a hot gadget "tried three times to cut into a long line of customers," according to Jo Ling Kent at CNN. Security guards and employees tried to steer the man away, when "a shoving match erupted" between one of the Apple employees and "a member of the alleged scalper's family." Security then locked the front door to the store, and a group of shoppers "rushed the entrance and shook the glass door until it shattered."
How badly were people injured?
"We're talking bloodied faces and broken glass here," says Kwame Opam at Gizmodo. Three people were reportedly hurt in the melee, and another man was allegedy "beaten" by a foreign Apple employee using a metal rod, according to Steve Millward at Penn Olson. That alleged beating is the "most serious and troubling allegation" for the company, both "in legal and PR terms." The Apple store manager involved has agreed to pay about $3,000 to cover medical costs for the man who was allegedly beaten, according to The People's Daily Online.
How big is Apple in China?
Very, very big. "The iPad 2 is so popular in China, some stores are having trouble keeping even fake ones in stock," says Paul Suarez at PCWorld. Major Apple releases attract long lines, with some customers waiting more than 60 hours last September for the rollout of the original iPad, according to Josh Ong at Apple Insider. The company now has four stores in China — two each in Beijing and Shanghai — but plans to open 25 more in the next few years. Fights also broke out at an Apple store last year over the iPhone 4, says Jay Yarow at Business Insider.