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Counterfeit Apple retail stores pop up in southwest China

updated 02:45 am EDT, Wed July 20, 2011

Employees actually believe they work for Apple

On the heels of today's conference call with analysts where Apple executives raved over the tremendous growth in China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region comes a report via ifoAppleStore of an American blogger living in China who uncovered no less than three unauthorized, counterfeit Apple retail stores -- each selling genuine Apple products and styled to copy the look and feel, right down to having employees who genuinely believe they work for Apple.

The discovery was made in the town of Kunming, a provincial capital in the Yunnan province in southwest China, home to a population of around 6.8 million. The fake stores went to great lengths to simulate the atmosphere and style of a genuine Apple Store, complete with Apple-logo blue t-shirts on the staff.

Tell-tale signs, however, give the game away: the stores use the printed words "Apple Store" (or in one case "Apple Stoer") alongside the iconic logo, employee name tags did not have actual names on them (just "Staff") and other cosmetic differences or cost-cutting evidence.

According to the blogger, who is identified only as "Jessica," the employees of the stores are entirely unaware of the deception, and believe they are working directly for Apple. While taking pictures (below) of the stores, she was approached by security and asked to stop, until she implied that she was also associated with Apple in the U.S., whereupon they allowed her to continue.

Name-brand goods in stylish, Western-style stores has become increasingly important to the affluent Chinese middle class, and areas like Kunming have seen rapid urban and commercialized development in recent years. The items in the fake Apple stores appear to be real, but the store itself is not authorized by Apple.

Whether the company is aware of the issue, or what it may do about such unauthorized stores, remains to be seen. Jessica speculated that if fake Apple Stores are present in a province so far away from the legitimate Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai, there are likely to be other copycat outlets in other provinces. [via ifoAppleStore, original story and photos via BirdAbroad]

by MacNN Staff




  1. facebook_Francis

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    And now

    I've seen everything. I didn't think it was possiblt to counterfeit a store.

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh yes. They're called Microsoft Stores.

  1. Richard Meyeroff

    Joined: Dec 1969


    may not be counterfit

    I remember a story that subsidiary of Foxconn, an Apple authorizeddealer in china, is going to open a large # of their own apple stores in China. What you saw could be one of those.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    As long as they are selling Apple products, WHO CARES!!

  1. noverflow

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The has been worse

    NEC had a counterfeit in china. The entire company was counterfeited!

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    History repeating itself

    American products are worldwide's icons. There are also fake McDonald's in Africa, China, Russia.... many other countries.

  1. davoud

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Milky Day

    Seen when I lived in the Arab World: Milky Day and Marz candy bars. Clinix tissues. But my favorite counterfeit story comes from Thailand, where a colleague bought a fake Rolex and was showing it around the office. "Identical to the real thing!" he said. I happened to be wearing the real thing, so I said let me have a look. I made a elaborate show of examining the fake with a magnifying glass and then removing my own Rolex and examining it. I said "It appears that genuine Rolexes do not use rusty brads as pins in the watch band."

  1. psdenno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fake Disneyland

    There's even a fake Disneyland in China, so a pretend Apple store must have been easy.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Fake Disneyland

    That's hilarious. Mickey Mouse is actually "a cat with big ears", said the fake Disneyland president.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It isn't like people haven't copied various stores/restaurants in the US.

    Of course, in the US, most companies just sue other companies over perceived infractions or overindulgence, like Apple going after someone using the word 'pod' in their name, or McDonald's keeping anyone from opening a restaurant with "Mc" in front of it.

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