Fake Apple Stores Discovered In China

Published by: Frank Galvano on 21st Jul 2011 | View all blogs by Frank Galvano
apple logo.jpg

Fake Apple Stores Discovered In China

In China, where numerous counterfeit gadgets have long been produced, a number of fake Apple Stores have begun popping up.  At first glance, the stores appear authentic.  Employees are wearing the same familiar blue t-shirts with the company's logo, and signs line the stores' walls with advertisements for all of Apple's latest gadgets.  Outside of the stores, the famous Apple logo sits next to the words “Apple Store.”  This is where the counterfeiters made their mistake.  Real Apple stores don't display those words, allowing the logo to speak for itself.

One American living in Kunming in the Yunnan province said she recently spotted three of these fake Apple stores in the city.  She even took photos and posted them on her BirdAbroad blog.  Apple confirmed that the three stores are indeed not among its list of authorized resellers.  Apple has just four official retail locations in China, two in Beijing and two in Shanghai, and a number of authorized resellers.

The proliferation of these counterfeit stores underscores the Chinese government's slow progress in reversing a culture of rampant piracy and manufacturing of counterfeit products that is a major hurdle in the country's relations with trading partners.  China's Commerce Minister earlier this year promised American executives that the country's latest in a series of crackdowns on product piracy would have a lasting effect.

The American who discovered the fake Apple retailers, who declined to be identified, noted that the set-up of the stores was so believable that the workers themselves seemed to believe they were working for Apple.  “It looked like an Apple store. It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area. The employees were even wearing those blue T-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks,” the woman wrote on her blog.

Apple reported record-high quarterly revenue and earnings earlier this week, saying that China was a key market to those numbers.  The Cupertino, California-based company said that revenue was up more than six times from last year's 2nd quarter to $3.8 billion in the area containing China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  The company currently has plans to open up two more official Apple stores in China by the end of the year, one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.

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