China Shuts Down Fake Apple Stores

Dennis Faas's picture

Chinese officials have forced the closure of two bogus Apple Stores after they were exposed by a blogger. But the closure doesn't appear related to any trademark infringement, and three other similar suspected knock-off stores remain open.

There is a key difference between these stores and those traders who offer counterfeit Western products: in this case, it's the store itself that is posing as a legitimate Apple outlet.

The stores came to international attention after an Internet blog post by a woman who lives in Kunming, a city in Southern China. She spotted the store in the city and at first glance it appeared to be genuine, with a remarkably similar style and layout to the official Apple Stores.

Sham Signage Gives Game Away

On closer inspection, the woman noticed that there were several giveaways: the signs had "Apple Store" written beneath the Apple logo, which doesn't happen in the real stores. Secondly, the staff name tags didn't have names written on them.

Although the blogger was clear the store was "a beautiful rip-off," it appears staff weren't so certain. Posing as a US Apple employee, the woman spoke to the personnel working for the firm. In her conversation, she discovered that the employees genuinely believed they were working for Apple. (Source:

She then looked around the area and found two more supposed Apple Stores, one of which was marked "Apple Stoer" -- all within walking distance. However, Apple's website shows that there are no genuine Apple Stores in the city or licensed resellers.

Management: Store Fake, Products Real

Several US sources then got in touch with the store and were told by staff that the workforce was well aware that it was not an Apple Store, but that the products were genuine and were being sold at Apple's designated Chinese prices.

Chinese trading standards officials have now visited the stores, and found another two bogus Apple Stores in the city. However, the two that they shut down -- which did not include the original one the blogger visited and photographed -- were closed for not having a trading license. (Source:

That leaves Apple to deal with the remaining stores as a civil matter, though the company has yet to comment publicly on the story.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet