By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 30, 2012

Cameras capture the takedown of banners promoting the “world’s biggest” Apple store

Retail can be a tough business, especially in China, as Apple (AAPL) discovered Wednesday.

The video below, shot from a security camera, shows a platoon of Chinese security guards taking down a barricade that Apple had constructed outside an upscale shopping mall to promote a forthcoming Apple store billed as the “world’s biggest.”

The mall is in Dalain, a thriving seaport city of 3.5 million — roughly the population of Los Angeles — that draws tourists and shoppers from China, Korea and Japan.

According to the Chinese blog M.I.C. Gadget, the burly men in uniform who overpowered Apple’s guards and took down the wall were sent by a rival shopping mall jealous of the new store. MacRumors disputes that account and suggests that the dispute stemmed from Apple’s promotional barricade encroaching further than permitted into a public space.

The expansion of Apple’s retail presence in China has gone more slowly than anticipated. Two years ago the company announced plans to build 40 stores in China by February 2012. So far it has opened only six.

The security camera footage:

Below the fold: Another view of the takedown, shot from a Dalain Starbucks.

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