Since the near-riot with the launch of the iPhone 4S, China’s Apple Store has put a reservation-only system for product launches into place. When the iPad mini finally launched in China on Friday, very few crowds were waiting to get one and most of those who were there turned out to be scalpers, despite new rules making it harder for them to buy large numbers of iPads. The iReserve system required Chinese customers to participate in an online lottery one day before the launch to buy the Wi-Fi version of the iPad mini at Apple’s seven retail stores in China.
When the iPad mini launched on Friday, there were no crowds at Apple’s Sanlitun store, but a large group of scalpers weren’t far off buying iPads from customers coming out of the Apple Store. Behind them, a big stack of the devices were piled on a bench, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ reporter trying to film the scene was surrounded by a group of angry scalpers who said it was an invasion of their privacy. When the reporter pointed out that they were doing business in a public space, the scalpers went on to “kick, swat and push him as Apple and mall security stood by.”
When asked by the reporter why he didn’t intervene, the Apple employee replied that he couldn’t protect people outside of the store and said to him: “I suggest you don’t film here, or film farther away.”
Eighteen-year-old Li Yongqiang wasn’t picked for the lottery to purchase an iPad mini but still showed up at 8:30 a.m. He said there were crowds of about a hundred scalpers outside of the Apple Store and most people were there to purchase the iPad mini on behalf of scalpers. It’s not clear how the scalpers were able to get so many of their people chosen for the lottery.
Image Credit: AppleInsider