Inside a Fake Apple Store in China

Posted on August 2, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

At first, it looks like a sleek Apple store. Sales assistants in blue T-shirts with the company's logo chat to customers. Signs advertising the iPad 2 hang from the white walls. Outside, the famous logo sits next to the words “Apple Store.” And that's the clue it's fake.

Check out 9 more images after the jump.

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

China, long known for producing counterfeit consumer gadgets, software and brand name clothing, has reached a new piracy milestone – fake Apple stores. An American who lives in Kunming in southern Yunnan province said Thursday that she and her husband stumbled on three shops masquerading as bona fide Apple stores in the city a few days ago. She took photos and posted them on her BirdAbroad blog.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

The three stores are not among the authorized resellers listed on Apple Inc.'s website. The maker of the iPhone and other hit gadgets has four company stores in China – two in Beijing and two in Shanghai – and various official resellers. Apple's Beijing office declined to comment.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

The proliferation of the fake stores underlines the slow progress that China's government is making in countering a culture of a rampant piracy and widespread production of bogus goods that is a major irritant in relations with trading partners. China's Commerce Minister promised American executives earlier this year that the latest in a string of crackdowns on product piracy would deliver lasting results.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

The 27-year-old blogger, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the set-up of the stores was so convincing that the employees themselves seemed to believe they worked 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,” she wrote on her blog.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

“But some things were just not right: the stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn't been painted properly. Apple never writes 'Apple Store' on its signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.” A worker at the fake Apple store on Zhengyi Road in Kunming, which most of the photos of the BirdAbroad blog show, told The Associated Press that they are an “Apple store” before hanging up.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

The manager of an authorized reseller in Kunming, who gave only his surname, Zhang, said most customers have no idea the stores are fake. Some of the staff in the stores “can't even operate computers properly or tell you all the functions of the mobile phone,” he said.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

He said a challenge for mobile phone companies and others selling branded products across a country as big as China is how to manage distribution, especially to smaller cities. “And then, making sure people aren't copying it, faking it … is absolutely a challenge,” said Dean, who once saw a fake Apple phone in China that had an Apple logo – but with no bite taken out of it.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

Apple said this week that China was “very key” to its record earnings and revenue in the quarter that ended in June. Revenue was up more than six times from a year earlier to $3.8 billion in the area comprising China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said Apple's Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook, according to a conference call on Tuesday.

 

Inside a Fake Apple Store in China (10 images)

“I firmly believe that we're just scratching the surface right now. I think there is an incredible opportunity for Apple there,” Cook said. The company plans to open two more Apple stores in greater China – one in Shanghai and another in Hong Kong – by the end of the year.

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