A savvy blogger living abroad in Kunming, China uncovered a completely counterfeit Apple Store and spread the story through her BirdAbroad blog, according to the Associated Press.
The store appears completely legitimate, right down to the employees’ name tags and the spiral staircases; the only clue that it is fake are the words “Apple Store” on the sign.
“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,’’ said the 27-year-old blogger who remained anonymous. “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 store on Zhengyi Road in Kunmig, which was the bloggers main focus, told the Associated Press that is an “Apple Store” before hanging up the phone.
This store is one of three known in China that are not listed on Apple Inc.’s website as authorized resellers, which Apple Spokeswoman Amy Bessette pointed out. That was her only comment on the issue.
An operator of an authorized reseller in Kunmig, only identified as Zhang, said most customers do not know the stores are counterfeit.
Zhang told the Boston Globe that some of the fake stores’ staff “can’t even operate computers properly or tell you all the functions of the mobile phone.”
These stores were found out after China’s Commerce Minister told American executives that the latest of many crackdowns on product piracy would produce lasting effects.
China’s tendency to counterfeit goods has been a major problem for its trading partners.