China’s Fake Apple Stores

by Jordan Richardson on July 19, 2011

As any intrepid traveller knows, finding “fakes” in countries like China is remarkably easy. The country is known for being home to a lot of counterfeit goods, including in the realm of electronic gadgets, but they’ve apparently hit a new level of fakery with bogus Apple stores – or should I say “stoers.”

A blogger, an American living in Kunming in southern Yunnan province, discovered three shops dressed up like bona fide Apple stores. She took pictures of the place and posted it on her blog under an entry titled “Are you listening, Steve Jobs?”

As you can see from the pictures on her blog, the stores have the same minimalist design and the employees wear the same blue T-shirts. Apple logos are everywhere and signs advertise Apple products, including the iPad 2.

But the stores are not among Apple’s list of authorized resellers. There are four company stores in China, a pair in Shanghai and a pair in Beijing, and a few other official resellers.

The Associated Press called one of the sham Apple stores and a worker hung up after asserting that it was “an Apple store.”

A manager at one of Apple’s authorized shops said that most customers weren’t aware that they were fake stores. 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. “There are more and more of these fake stores in Kunming. Although they may sell real Apple products, some of those products were not imported through legal means. And they cost more.”

According to the blogger, the employees actually believe they work at official Apple shops. “I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere,” she wrote.

While fake products, gadgets and clothing items are commonplace, some might think that fake stores are a little much. Yet here they are. And as the blogger discovered, they may be becoming more common in a country where regulators eagerly look the other way and employees desperate for a pay-cheque don’t know the difference.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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