Counterfeit Apple Stores open for business in China

Counterfeit Apple Stores open for business in China

Summary: The Chinese must have conquered counterfeiting Apple gadgets because they're moved on to copying entire Apple Stores. And I don't mean unauthorized Apple stores.

SHARE:
TOPICS: China, Apple
17

Not long after a new Apple product is released, a counterfeit version invariably turns up on the streets of China. We've seen knock-off iPods, iPhones, even iPads come out of China but they're always a little off and pretty easy to distinguish from the real thing.

Apparently the Chinese have conquered counterfeiting Apple gadgets because they're moved on to copying entire Apple Stores. And I don't mean unauthorized or grey market Apple stores (there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of them) I mean wholesale clones of Apple's iconic retail Stores. With a capital S.

Bird Abroad posted a series of photos from new, unauthorized "Apple Stores" which are cropping up in the city of Kunming, China. The photos were taken at three knock-off "Apple" retail stores in Kunming, ironically the stores aren't even authorized Apple resellers.

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves:

Check out this Apple "Genius" complete with trademark Apple t-shirt and business-card lanyard.

This could pass as just about any Apple Store and many people would assume it to be run by Apple.

Another shot of what could easily be mistaken as an Apple retail store.

/p>

Not only does Apple not use the words "Apple Store" in its branding, it would be spelled correctly if it did.

NPR noted the proliferation of fake Apple Stores cropping up in China on its blog and it has been asserted that although Apple acknowledges that the three stores in Kunming are indeed fake, it doesn't appear to be doing anything to try to stop them.

One of the theories for the lack of enforcement is that Apple manufactures most of its goods in China and doesn't want to rock the boat with the Chinese government, which issues and controls all retail business licenses in the country. It will be interesting to see if Apple can or will attempt to crack down on these egregious trademark violations.

Update: According to China Real Time Report, "a store employee reached by phone [has] confirmed that the store is not an authorized Apple reseller. The salesman said products in the store are genuine Apple products sold at the same prices as those advertised on Apple's website." If true, I wonder where it's sourcing inventory and how it's making any money...

Topics: China, Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    CRACK DOWN COMING!!! Hopefully!
    Kevinboneill
    • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

      @Kevinboneill
      Thanks to the blogger who exposed this. They were busted...
      eschwartzk
  • In Good Taste?

    It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery.

    Well, at least they have good taste, else there would be a Mikrosoft store over there.
    databaseben
    • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

      @databaseben@...

      Bott's law invoked. You lose. Thanks for playing.
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    Apple's probably not doing anything because they're selling genuine Apple products, meaning Apple is getting their cut. Unless people are physically breaking into factories/other stores for inventory, I don't think Apple will mind.

    Not to mention it looks quite good for a knockoff. At worst, Apple might just buy it and turn it into a real Apple Store.
    Aerowind
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    I heard these stories were a hoax...
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

      @Hasam1991 Well, I have known few info about a fake Apple store at China. A blogger who calls herself BirdAbroad found a Chinese store that looked almost exactly like one of Apple's iconic retail outlets, complete with winding staircase, walls lined with Apple products, and employees dressed in blue T-shirts and Apple name tags. The problem? The store was in the southwestern city of Kunming. The only stores Apple has opened in China so far are in Beijing and Shanghai. <a href="http://garlabs.us/">GAR Labs</a>
      jobertsonclark
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    That's assuming that the salesman was being truthful about whether they were actual Apple products or not. If they are then I would guess that they are in collusion with the factory that produces actual Apple products which probably has a night shift pumping out additional units for sale at these stores.
    Tigertank
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    They could always be taking some product out of the back door of Foxconn of course.
    hjenkins1
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    Somebody please explain to me why such egregious IP violations don't automatically trigger a tariff on imported Chinese goods? By "explain" I mean an explanation other than the obvious one; i.e. that the Congressional legislators and State Department time-servers aren't a bunch of incompetent and corrupt fools.
    FeralUrchin
    • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

      @FeralUrchin

      Well... the Chinese hold over one trillion dollars of US debt. You want to make them mad and have them to call their loans?
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    So, Apple isn't afraid to send an entire SWAT team to blogger's houses after an iPhone prototype, but they are afraid of going after counterfeiters?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Are the counterfeiters?

      @Cylon Centurion
      The article suggests they are actual Apple products. If they were indeed purchased wholesale from Apple then the problem is not as serious. If they are knock-offs or actual Apple products produced covertly from Foxconn being sold then yeah it is a serious problem. So far all I can glean is that they are using the look&feel of the official Apple store to help sell their units.
      Tigertank
  • I'm not sure...

    ... but I think I spotted Richard Flude, James Quinn and fr_gough in a couple of those photos.
    Hallowed are the Ori
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    Before long, diligent researchers were uncovering other apparently fake Apple stores elsewhere in China. The whole episode became a case study of the difficulty of protecting trademarks and other intellectual property in that country.-<a href="http://anylabtestnowfranchiseonline.com/">Any Lab Test Now Franchise</a>
    shantelle143
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    A blogger who calls herself BirdAbroad found a Chinese store that looked almost exactly like one of Apple's iconic retail outlets, complete with winding staircase, walls lined with Apple products, and employees dressed in blue T-shirts and Apple name tags. The problem? The store was in the southwestern city of Kunming. The only stores Apple has opened in China so far are in Beijing and Shanghai. Does this new opening is a genuine Apple store? <a href="http://garlabs.us/">GAR Labs</a>
    jobertsonclark
  • RE: Counterfeit Apple Stores open in China

    Most new stores feature a station called The Studio, a Genius Bar-like setting where customers can meet with a "Creative" and receive help with projects ranging from organizing a photo album to music composition to film editing. Some of the older stores are being considered to carry a Studio in a future remodel, in some cases replacing the older theaters.-<a href="www.1888pressrelease.com/guy-riordan-122934-company-pr.html">Guy Riordan</a>
    liezelee1109