Are you listening, Steve Jobs?

UPDATE #2: Click here for updates on the fake Apple store, with video footage.

UPDATE #1: To address the main issue that people have been getting all bent out of shape about: the stores I photographed do not appear to be authorized Apple sellers. The list of resellers in Kunming that Apple’s website has published does not include the locations that I photographed. An employee at the main store photographed has confirmed that it is not an authorized reseller. Apple itself has confirmed that it is a fake.

I will not be publishing on this blog the addresses of the stores I photographed – if you live in China, you’ll understand why. Feel free to email me at birdabroadblog [AT] gmail [DOT] com.


The Western news media is replete with pithy descriptions of the rapid changes taking place in China: China has the world’s fastest growing economy. China is undergoing remarkable and rapid change. This represents a unique moment for a society changing as quickly as China.

You probably read such things in the paper every day – but if you have never been to China, I’m not sure you know quite what this means on a mundane level. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, in the 2+ years that RP and I have been in our apartment, much of the area around us has been torn down, rebuilt, or gutted and renovated – in some cases, several times over. I had the thought, only half-jokingly, that when we returned from a couple months abroad, we might not be able to recognize our apartment building. Or that it might not be there at all.

As it turns out, my fears were baseless – our scrappy little home remains. The neighborhood, however, has definitely kicked it up a notch or seven. Starbucks has opened not one, but THREE branches (that I encountered) within a 10 minute walk of one another. An H&M has opened across from our apartment building. These are the kinds of major Western brands that were previously only represented in Kunming by fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. Our neighborhood has quickly become the swanky shopping center of the city.

So when we strolled down a street a few blocks from our house a couple weeks ago, I was only sort of surprised to see this new place, one that any American of my generation can probably recognize instantaneously:

It’s an Apple store!

Or is it?

RP and I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. 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.

We proceeded to place a bet on whether or not this was a genuine Apple store or just the best ripoff we had ever seen – and to be sporting, I bet that it was real.

I know, you guys are laughing: an Apple store in Kunming? No one who doesn’t know me personally has ever heard of Kunming before. Kunming is the end of the Earth. It’s all true – but seriously, China warps your mind into believing that anything is possible, if you stay here long enough. When we went back to this store 5 days later and couldn’t find it, having overshot by two blocks, I seriously thought that it had simply been torn down and replaced with a bank in the mean time – hey, it’s China. That could happen.

You have already guessed the punchline, of course: this was a total Apple store ripoff. A beautiful ripoff – a brilliant one – the best ripoff store we had ever seen (and we see them every day). 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 it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit.

The name tags around the necks of the friendly salespeople didn’t actually have names on them – just an Apple logo and the anonymous designation “Staff”. And of course, Apple’s own website will tell you that they only have a few stores in Beijing and Shanghai, opened only recently; Apple famously opens new stores painstakingly, presumably to assure impeccable standards and lots of customer demand.

Is this store a copy of one of those in Beijing? A copy of a copy in another Chinese city? A copy of a copy of a copy?! While you’re pondering that, bear in mind: this is a near-perfect ripoff of a store selling products that were almost unknown when we first came to China. My white MacBook was likely to draw only blank stares or furrowed brows as I sat gnashing my teeth trying in vain to get a piece of Chinese software to run on it.

Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple. 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.

Clearly, they had also been told that above all, they must protect the brand. As I took these photos I was quickly accosted by two salespeople inside, and three plain clothes security guys outside, putting their hands in my face and telling me to stop taking photographs – that it wasn’t allowed. And why wasn’t it allowed? Because their boss told them so.

I…may or may not have told them that we were two American Apple employees visiting China and checking out the local stores. Either way, they got friendlier and allowed me to snap some pictures.

And the best part? A ten minute walk around the corner revealed not one, but TWO more rip-off Apple stores.

Some store managers may have dozed off briefly during certain parts of the lecture on How to Completely Ignore Intellectual Property Rights:

Anyone from Apple want to come down to Kunming and break open a can of IPR whoop-ass?

1,016 thoughts on “Are you listening, Steve Jobs?

  1. Hey Jessica totally excellent entry. In the end by the way we will be in Hangzhou not Kunming. But thanks for all the advice and info you have given us.

    • I lived in Kunming in 1986. Cassette tapes of John Lennon’s Imagine album were a hot black market item, knocked off and copied extensively.

      Wow Now they are knocking off Apple Stores!! Go figure.

      The parking dump across from my house in Denver Colorado was knocked down and replaced by a lovely park a few years back. It was recently named the “city of Kunming” park. The Chinese officials brought large standing stones from Kunming to Colorado and placed them in the park.

      The stones represent and emanate a peace, calm, wisdom and serenity.

      In a surreal way the Internet and I phone culture represent frantic, manic,
      information overload and a dependency on gadgets to communicate.

      Somewhere in this comment there is a paradox but I will have to ask
      Steve Jobs to give me an app to figure it out.

      Best wishes C.

      • > I lived in Kunming in 1986. Cassette tapes of John Lennon’s Imagine album > were a hot black market item, knocked off and copied extensively.

        > Wow Now they are knocking off Apple Stores!!

        That’s progress for you.

      • I live in Kunming a few years ago and now live in Nanning. We have an “Apple” store at the Admiral City Mall which I now assume is also a fake.

    • 00 ! Now that is amazing to imitate.
      Would not mean any harm. A small wonder of the world.

      Many countries know if countries take to communicate wit
      h other people will know that this is a bad thing.

  2. Aw, too bad we’re not going to see you here! But I hear that Hangzhou is wonderful. Enjoy, and safe travels!

    • Hangzhou is absolutely amazing! I was lucky enough to spend a month there last year. On a clear day xihu is a great place to go and the 4 storey electronics shopping mall is an interesting experience.
      It will be interesting to see what Lanzhou has in store for me in a couple of months…

    • I’m from Barcelona (Spain) I have been working for months in Suzhou (80 km from Shanghai) and I’ve seen two Apple stores such as Kunming. Besides it is very easy to purchase iPhones, iPads by 500 to 1000 RMB. When I return I will make photos

      • I’m in Suzhou as well! Where are these Apple Stores? I’d love to go and take some pictures as well to send home.

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  5. “I wonder what Apple will do” -> They sell Apple products. What should they do? Nothing. Maybe thank them and just ask them to more clearly show they’re a distributor, and not Apple.

    • Apple protects their trademarks, they’re not going to let fake Apple stores exist. These will be closed as quickly as Apple can get the Chinese authorities to act (which might take years).

      • It may surprise you, but not all police forces in the world are willing to act as private copyright enforcement lackeys for American corporate gluttons.

      • “These will be closed as quickly as Apple can get the Chinese authorities to act”…China is a communist country, which might imply that the “authorities” allowed the store to open in the first place…

      • Consider what would happen if Apple suggested that they would pull all manufacturing from China? Do you think that perhaps authorities might take a different view of the situation? I do. There is plenty of pocket lining happening by government officials as a result of the manufacturing Apple does in China.

      • @Joe User:
        If Apple where to pull out all manfacturing from China, Apple products would become far too expensive for anyone of us and Apple would not be allowed to sell products in China.
        And China is about twice the European and US consumer market combined, if not tripled.

        In effect, this would mean Apple products wouldn’t sell as good as they do anymore, giving leeway to (cheaper) Android products, which then would overtake Apple’s marketposition.

        Now… would Apple even think about threatening to pull manufacturing out of China? Me no thinks so..
        Same goes for copyright infringements… they’ll leave it until China is coming by and starts making efforts in upholding rights at all (human~, copyrights… same thing there)

    • That comment just hurts my brain. Damnit! If the store is fake do you expect to be genuine (not some stolen or faked) Apple products?
      How about some medicine then? Would you buy a medicine you are not certain it contains the vaccine promised?
      This is a major issue not only for Apple but for the (honest) Western world. Screw those fakes!

      • WOW! You had me until the “honest Western world part.” We have built our empire on screwing others. The Western world is far from ‘honest’ but is great at protecting the rear ends. Be sure they, we, will do that.

      • Yes, it’s easy to create a fake iPad or fake iPhone but really hard to innovate to make some new. There-in lies the problem with Chinese business tactics.

      • JP, comrade, calm down. Putting the word “(honest)” in parentheses indicates the poster believes this theft is a problem for the subset of the Western world that is honest, the inference being that not all Westerners are honest.

        I don’t know why this blog post is titled “Are you listening, Steve Jobs?” As if it’s his prerogative to stop this stuff. Last time I checked, the Chinese government is a totalitarian one. These stores will stay open as long as the government wants them to. Apple, who’s the victim here, could politely ask for them to be shut down but the government may be more interested in the tax revenue and bribes it can extract from a grey-market store like this than protecting the intellectual property of a foreign, US-based company.

      • Honest western world??? lol… is it honest to sell Tylenol 8 times more expensive than the generic no brand paracetamol sold by any drug store which contains exactly the same chemicals???
        You need to travel a bit arround the world befor you start screwing fakes.

    • “I wonder what Apple will do” > probably nothing at all. Intellectual and copyrights are barely exist in China, the Chinese government is not, and probably cannot do anything about it since the whole fake-products-phenomenon has obviously become an industry, feeding so many uneducated & educated people who wish to earn a fortune as soon as possible. Not to mention the Chinese government doesn’t care for intellectual rights at all.

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  10. I think you are just mis-informed. Overseas Apple licenses Premium Reseller status for retail operations in areas where Apple does not natively operate. In order to be a Premium Reseller you MUST make your store look essentially like an Apple Store. I know of a reseller in India that LOST status despite doing several hundred thousand USD per year in retail sales because their lastest store did not meet the design guidelines. This status is never exclusive, thus you can have multiple stores near by, and none of them could get that much Apple equipment in stock with Apple’s approval. I’d also bet the proces are in line w/ US prices + VAT, which is only possible if they are getting the margins that Apple grants Premium Resellers. Singapore has shops like those, all licensed, as does Delhi, Amsterdam, Berlin, etc.

    • Whilst You’re right about ‘Premium Reseller’ status, Apple also stresses that Premium Resellers do not brand themselves ‘as’ Apple, in any way, shape or form. Premium Resellers in Australia make it abundantly clear that you are purchasing from ‘NextByte’ or ‘Mac1’, but never from Apple themselves. Even thought their storefronts often have that iconic ‘Apple Look’.

      Even if this is a premium reseller, They’re blatantly misrepresenting themselves as Apple.

      • Yeah, same in Turkey. And don’t forget that you have to write “Premium Reseller” clearly on the sign to avoid confusion.

    • These stores are NOT on the list of Apple’s authorized resellers in China.

      There do appear to be licensed resellers of Apple products in Kunming – most notably, a chain of electronic stores called Xinya. These places always have a sign that says “Authorized Reseller” (although granted, if you wanted to open a store selling knock-off Apple products here tomorrow, I could direct you to any number of places that would happily make you a sign that says “Authorized Reseller”). None of their employees will tell you they work for Apple.

      What these stores are doing is clearly different – they are trying to trick people into thinking this is an actual Apple store. The employees all think they actually work for the American company Apple, when they plainly do not. When these things are true, how are you supposed to trust the store at all? How are you supposed to know if they are real products, regardless of whether or not they seem to be? If you buy a product from one of these places and something goes wrong with it, are you protected in any way? If it bring my computer to the fake “Genius Bar”, is anyone there actually going to be able to do anything about it? I seriously doubt it.

      Places that pretend to be actual Apple stores but can’t provide Apple-level tech support or customer service are not good for the actual company. And the cost of the products is no guarantee of anything – they could easily purchase these products in a less-than-official way and sell them for a giant markup, making an absolute killing.

    • As an Apple employee, this is not ant Apple Premium Reseller. It doesn’t even look like a proper reseller more like a ghetto version of the Apple Store. For a Apple Licensesd Premium Reseller to keep his/her license they have to strictly meet Apple’s high standards; which you can tell they don’t meet. Btw, when did Apple have a children’s area? We also, have a policy that clear states you a reseller of any kind are not to advertise themselves as an “Apple Store,” also, they have to advertise themselves an Premium Reseller with a black/white sign stating so. PLUS, as you can see there are no authorized Premium Resellers any in China or India.

      This is what an Premium Resller is suppose to look like

    • There is also no way that Apple would authorize the use of fonts like that – some of them are slightly off. Also, what official Apple retailer is ever called “Apple Store” (or Stoer, as the case may be)? The staircase flooring and the panelled wall are also very un-Apple, there is no way this is a reseller.

  11. I think the reason Apple isn’t doing anything about these stores is because they don’t cost them anything to maintain and they still get profits from the sales because that store is selling Apple products.

      • Unless they are stolen, Apple should be making money off them anyways.

        The real question is if those are actually iPads and macs being sold, or Android based knockoffs. Just looking at the images, I think they are the real deal.

        If so, Apple should still be making money of the sale of products, but I don’t think Apple will allow their brand to be diluted by the shoddy stores. Additionally, the authorized resellers around will not be too happy either.

      • True, and they are actually costing Apple a TON in bad PR, through poorly made knock-offs passed off as “real”, through bad or incompetent tech support, or through untrained staff passing as experts. This kind of thing could definitely diminish the brand, even if it’s only in an out-of-the-way city in China.

      • I assume you can buy knock-off apple products throughout China. You can certainly buy them (fake iPhones, iPads,) on the Thai-Burma border along with fake everything else.

    • This is a ridiculous idea as the store does neither sell real Apple products (but cleverly produced Chinese knock-offs) nor will it give any money to Apple (because they know what Apple will do about them if they find out). The people who run that store, if Apple’s legal department can do anything about it, will burn in the lowest levels of fake-retail hell. And that hurts a lot!

      • >cleverly produced Chinese knock-offs

        Thank you for pointing this out! I just looked at my “iPhone” that I thought I was buying from Apple stateside. And oh horror — it’s made in China. Must be a cleverly produced knockoff.
        What a ripoff. I should alert Apple about those wily Chinese.

      • I spend 1/3 of my time working in China and they produce knockoffs that would leave wise Solomon scratching his head from a distance as to which is the real one. I know Chinese who go to the electronics markets in Beijing 中关村 (which locals in their misplaced hubris dub “Silicon Valley” – I spend the other 2/3 of my time in the real Silicon Valley) who often cannot tell if they’re buying the authentic product or a bait-and-switch knock-off. The Chinese knock-offs go write down to the fake brand stamp, packaging, etc. and you don’t usually realize you have a fake until the poor quality comes through in the months, weeks or sometimes days later when your product breaks or otherwise fails. Some “fakes” can also be products that failed factory Q&A inspection that would normally be destroyed, but are instead resold on China’s black markets. IPR is not respected in China in the least, the govt turns a blind eye, and it’s up to the business/consumer integrity of the individual to make a difference. Fortunately, I’ve met many such individuals in China, but it’s difficult when you are inundated not just with daily assaults of branding/IPR infringement but also a social mindset that says it’s okay.

      • Ask yourself this? What is taking Apple legal department so long? Why, its because they know that the product they are selling its not a apple product. Really, ask yourself? Do you think if it was IBM or Microsoft this will happened? NO because their legal team would do something about it because it is a product created by IBM or Microsoft. Apple does not invent anything PERIOD! When you all get it? If if did, then its legal department will be very busy — Apple is a marketing company take what is someone else and sell it with a apple symbol on it.

  12. Is the Apple gear legitimate? If so, how are they getting their hands on it?
    In order for them to make any profit, they’d have to ether be getting it wholesale (illegally of coures, since Apple vets all resellers) or they’d have to be reselling at higher prices than everyone else.


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  14. Hello. Anybody THere? Apple are you listening? Just as India and China took our jobs away. Dont tell me they are bleeding Apple.

    • India and China didn’t steal your jobs; you just got too fat, complacent, lazy and unproductive to deserve a place on the payroll.

      • Not true, I’ve done development in India and it tool 10 Indian workers to make up for a single US or EU worker. Chinese and Indian education is based on wrote learning and creates great assembly line workers but if you’re after innovation you are in for a lot of wasted time and money of you outsource to either.

        Companies are figuring this out in a hurry so I wouldn’t be quite so arrogant about your newly perceived leadership position in the global marketplace.

      • That’s what happened right there.
        Another thing, the article does not say whether the apple products themselves are fake or not. I suspect they are not, if there was some doubt about the shop itself being a fake Apple shop. If the products themselves are genuine, why would Apple care? Their products are for sale anywhere, people are falling over themselves to buy an iphone, brainwashed and desperate just like…… just like the people in the West. Who cares if some clever salesperson has decided to renovate his retail space to mimick the Apple store concept? He will have made lots of money before the Chinese law gets around to causing him any problems.

      • Are u serious? I agree – India and China didn’t steal anything. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of U.S. workers. U.S. corporations have outsourced everything because of an unwillingness to pay U.S. workers a fair wage. The U.S. government has exacerbated the situation by failing to establish any disincentives for these policies.

      • I agree.. problem with this kind of people is that they think they are the only one who is capable working with Apple. I used to work with one of the pc manufacturer in the use as tech support and this is what I usually heard from them “we stole their job” but guess what? Why are they calling for support if they think they know the job? wink..wink…

      • @Sto
        Look at the list you just rattled off: health insurance, short and long term disability, unemployment insurance, etc. – these things are just as much a part of the “wage” paid to the U.S. worker as the actual salary. And if U.S. corporations can get a huge labor discount by paying a lower hourly wage AND no benefits, moving production overseas without any consequences, then they will most certainly do so. It’s why U.S. industrial capacity is in the toilet – we don’t make anything anymore. When steel and other heavy industries left, workers were placated with the prospect of being re-trained for the next big age – information. After that happened, those jobs were shipped out, too.

        The bit about U.S. workers being fat and lazy – just part of the pr campaign designed to justify the whole thing.

    • they didn’t take the jobs. your beloved apple handed them the jobs. the ipad is manufactured in china.

      • I would like to be more precise.. it’s not unwillingness to pay fair, it’s extreme accounting error to not pay american worker then pay overseas worker twice than it would have cost originally. Partially it is also high employment taxation in the US, the hidden monster US employers are trying to avoid.. how about health insurance and liability coverage and short and long term disability insurance costs that US employers are avoiding? in the end, they are willing to pay a clear amount for an overseas R&D and avoid local scrutiny.. so sad…

      • @Sto
        Look at the list you just rattled off: health insurance, short and long term disability, unemployment insurance, etc. These things are just as much a part of the “wage” paid to the U.S. worker as the actual salary. And if U.S. corporations can get a huge labor discount by paying a lower hourly wage AND no benefits or safety nets, moving production overseas without any government sanctions, then they will most certainly do so. It’s why U.S. industrial capacity and infrastructure is in the toilet – we don’t make anything anymore. when steel and other heavy industries left, workers were placated with the prospect of being re-trained for the next Big Age – information. However, once this skill shift took place, those jobs were shipped out, too.

        The bit about U.S. workers being fat and lazy – just part of the PR campaign designed to justify the whole thing.

      • @Steven from @Sto

        Precisely my point. My problem is with moving all (without exception) manufacturing jobs to overseas. I firmly believe that it is an accounting gimmick, that turns out to be very strategic error and mistake to think that this is savings..

        in two words: turn back..

  15. Maybe this could be behind these stores?

    Yen-Shyang Hwang, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Friday 28 January 2011]

    Cybermart International, a major retail chain in China and a member of the Foxconn Group, has obtained the status as a first-grade distributor for Apple’s products in the Greater China area.

    Cybermart plans to set up 500 Apple licensed retail shops in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to company chairman Steve Chang. The first store will be opened in Tianjin on April 1, 2011.

    Cybermart has 34 outlets around China currently. The IT retail chain expects to add 7-8 stores in 2011.

    Parent Foxconn is a major supplier for Apple.

  16. As we all are aware, Apple will sue anyone if they did not get the agreement endorsed with Apple. Guys, please grow up and be civilised about your rumours. I know the West always like to paint great pictures about themselves and talk bad on others. Maybe it is time for China totally cut off most of the trades with those countries that like to dictate and interfere on people business. They are the biggest bullies on the planet. China should sell all their bonds, and we shall see what would happen to them. I can’t wait for China to take such measures.

      • They could do perfectly well using Euros instead of Dollars.

        The USA is probably one of the biggest forces for evil in recent history… If the wars don’t convince you or them storming into a sovereign country to rm /bin/laden without the permission of the government (followed by them blackmailing Pakistan by withholding aid due to the ‘difficult’ political situation caused by their act of extra judicial murder) don’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

        I’m British and we’ve been dragged into two of their ill-conceived wars of aggression against the wishes of the people, I for one would not be sorry if North America sank tomorrow, heh.

      • Adam, considering that most of China’s wealth is held in dollars, a depreciation in the dollar value (which will be caused by moving to the Euro) will hurt China more than anyone else.

        Additionally, the Euro zone is an economic landmine right now. The contagion there is getting so bad that Italy is being threatened (Italy, incidentally, has a larger economy than India). Moving to Euros won’t do anything.

      • “I for one would not be sorry if North America sank tomorrow, heh.”
        Wow, Adam, for someone who apparently fancies himself a student of politics, you dispaly a severely truncated memory. I seem to remember that al Qaeda has wreaked quite a bit of havoc on your little island – seems you’d be rejoicing in Mr. bin Laden’s demise, however it came about. But you are too busy spouting indignation on behalf of the most notoriously imperialist nation the world has ever produced. How about the exploits of the British army in 19th century southern Africa? And don’t tell me the Special Air Service has not violated the sovereignty of one country or another or several. BTW, lest we forget, this “force for evil” has found it necessary to sail across the pond not once, but twice to rescue your sorry asses from your German cousins. North America also includes Canada, which also has never hesitated, at great cost, to rush to the Queen’s aid. I would suggest you review and consider your history before you begin recklessly listing things you would not be sorry about.

      • “forces of evil”? Say that when we come saving you from the Soviets (and nukes). Say that when we save you from the Nazis. Say that when you attack us twice trying to reclaim your “colonies”. Say that when AMERICAN scientists develop the computer you’ll be working on in a few years. Say that when we make your GPS and your cell phone satellites. Say that when we FUND YOUR WWII with SHIPS, PLANES, and PEOPLE. You dragged us into 2 ill-conceived wars of aggression (against US). How about the Panama Canal (oh, the USA built it). How about 1/2 the systems in your military (oh, the US developed it). The USA is the biggest force of good in the last million years on this planet. We give away more dollars than twice your country does.
        Okay, now I’m just rambling but hopefully, you get the point.

    • 1. Yes; Apple must protect it’s brand and image and should use all means possible, including the courts.
      2. Yes; cut-off all trade between China and USA and any other country that agrees that if they spend the time and money to create products, it is unlawful for manufacturers in China to blatantly copy the product.
      3. It is unfortunate that your news is censored. We “bully” for what we believe in.
      4. Please sell the bonds; I want Obama out too!
      Just remember, China’s reign of manufacturing will be short-lived and you will soon be in our position. I can’t wait to see what happens when the African manufacturers are knocking-off Chinese product!! Let the fun begin!!!

    • For all the armchair economists, do a little research and understand the reason China buys US sovereign debt.

      After you find the CORRECT answer, take a couple of econ courses and go through the Internet and edit all of your idiotic posts about China clenching US’ balls and threatening to sell US sovereign debt.

      Lastly, I will let you in on a little secret. China will be absolutely screwed economically if they even thought about flooding the market with US sovereign debt.

  17. I’m an American living in Shanghai, and these “Apple Stores”, not to be mistaken for the Genuine Apple Stores here, are around. I have noticed four in Shanghai alone, and it had me thinking. Does Apple have some sort of distribution deal in place, the sort they have with a Best Buy in the US, with some chinese business org? I mean I’m beginning to believe it has to be the reason, especially because one of these store is exactly 1 miles away from the Official Apple store on Huaihai Road. Email me and I can send you images to post!

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  24. All the Apple stores in Israel are knock-offs’, they’re run by a totally independent company called iDigital owned by icon (pun intended?). They however, have an exclusive agreement with Apple to be the only Apple retailers in Israel. Result, absurd prices, lousy service and ignorant “geniuses”, and by the way, lousy penetration of Apple in this country.

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  29. There are plenty of official Apple retailers that don’t run actual “Apple stores”. They’re all over the place in New Zealand where we don’t have any “Apple stores”. I’m not sure I understand the point of this post.

    • Those don’t say “Apple Store” and try to be actual Apple Retail Stores. They are generally called Wolfes Autoried Apple Reseller or something fancy dancy, and have their own branding.

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  31. That’s totally a rip-off.

    But, can you figure out that if they are selling the _REAL_ Apple products?

    You know, here in China there are a lot fake electronic products, we call that
    “Shanzhai”(山寨 in China).

  32. When I was in Toluca, Mexico the mall there had an “iShop.” It was very similar to an Apple Store, to the point where people could mistake it for one.

    Here’s a photo I took:

    • Hello, it’s true they are not Apple stores, but those “Mixup iShop” are athorized resellers.. that’s why they look so similar…

  33. All the Apple stuff is made there anyway, not like it wouldn’t be hard for these stores to get their hands on the gear.

    Hilarious article, love it, nice work China!

  34. Pingback: 中國不只有假的iPhone,還有假的Apple Store!!! | ifanboy | Apple 中文資訊網

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  36. There are authorized reseller stores but they’re not called “Apple Store”. E.g., in Hong Kong there’s Apple Shop, which is a totally legit reseller. Other places there are authorized resellers with different names, not necessarily with the word “Apple” in it. lists authorized resellers:昆明

    If the stores in this blog post aren’t on that list, they could be fake. I wonder if it’s possible that they’re legit resellers registered under different company names but they just put “Apple Store” as their signage.

  37. Pingback: No comment: Faux Apple Stores in China | Iphone,Iphone Applications,Iphone Hacks, Iphone News

  38. Pingback: Kunming Apple Store | I Love China

  39. Many of them in shenzhen too, just in coastal city/nanshan area i think there are no less then 4 of these fake apple stores all in walking distance!

  40. Pingback: China: Komplette Apple Stores bis ins Detail kopiert | :: Alles über Apples Lifestyle-Produkte

  41. why would you rip off a store….. I really don’t get it, especially when the locals wouldn’t know that these exist in a much greater form somewhere else in the world… you could make a McDonalds for example and sell Apples (haha) products and they wouldn’t know the difference… would they…..

  42. CK, I think it’s you who’s misinformed – yes, there are Premium Apple Resellers but none of them are clear ripoffs of an Apple Store, none of them try to pretend to BE Apple with the shirts and the name tags etc. This is no licenced reseller, it’s a ripoff.

  43. Pingback: No comment: Faux Apple Stores in China | Apple Daily Magazine

  44. Pingback: Además de producir copias de iPhone, China ahora también produce Apple Retail Stores. « Addictec

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  47. Yes, CK, that’s nonsense, this is clearly a rip off. Anyone can tell the difference between a reseller and an Apple store. They are not allowed to make the stores look like those in the photo.

  48. Pingback: These Knock-Off Apple Stores in China Will Shock You | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource

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  56. By the way Jessica I posted a link to your piece on Googleplus and it is getting a lot of reactions. If u want an invite to join G+ send me yr email.
    Good luck and sorry we aren’t going to meet up in KM but maybe elsewhere (Israel? Shanghai?)
    All the best

  57. We have a few of these in Nanning
    I always find it interesting how many people come forward and try to justify the breach in IPR on behalf of the Chinese.
    Suggesting that they are licensed resellers – Yeah right!
    That is just what the Chinese want- Confused Laowai’s

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  78. Intellectual property?

    In a communist country?

    Dear China, here is the money we owe you.

    Minus IP fines.

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  94. The Apple store on the main street of Jiaxing is a bit smaller. The real give away is the Android phones and tablets at one end. Still they had good Apple product too.

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  102. That’s incredible. The Chinese are doing incredible things here in my working-class neighborhood of Madrid, and they’re a small minority. I can only imagine what goes on when they’re in their own country!

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  105. 这就是中国。政府和商人充满谎言和欺骗,但是中国人还是很友善的,虽然他们的信仰只有金钱。我是个中国人英文很差,这段话我是用google翻译的,sorry!

  106. This is China. Government and business full of lies and deceit, but the Chinese people are still very friendly, although their faith is only money. I am a Chinese, English is poor, so I used this google translation, sorry!

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  126. Why should this be a genuine Apple Store when there’s only 4 (in words: four) of those in China:

    We shall see how long it will be existing. As far as I can say, this should be over as soon as chinese officials support Apple, once the company has made clear that this is not ok/allowed.

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  129. There ARE actually Apple Premium Resellers in China, despite what one poster said – there are several in Hong Kong which is part of the country of….can you guess?

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      • either the list is not updated or the store is fake. you should provide the address of the store to a (verified) apple employee and/or any member of the public who wants to do the policing.

        since this has gotten quite viral i suppose the regional marketing manager of Apple store in China should come out and verify stuff.

        anyway good post. lol

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  143. Well, apple uses chinese workers like it’s the 19th century industry, so it’s only natural that they get hit back (extremely minimally) 19th century style.

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  159. Being a Hongkonger, I have to say that this fake ‘stores’ are extremely common in Mainland China. Hong Kong has been a world-renowned city and famous fot tourism over the century. It was a British colony till 1997. If you don’t want get fake products or getting poisoned by those exist-in-name-only so-called ‘regulations’ on the safety of food, please come to Hong Kong.


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  161. What I’m interested in knowing is how this is allowed to go on

    I mean it’s one thing to riff off a theme or an idea, but to blatantly RIP IT OFF?

    They KNOW what they’re doing, so don’t tell me “That’s just the way it is” or “That’s just China”, or “It’s just money”, or “It’s not hurting anyone”.

    It’s not just Apple, it’s everything…

    This is exactly what I hated about visiting China. It’s all a big fat facade and it’s a bubble about to burst and cause another ripple in the world economy

    They work hard, but they are not organized. I could go on, but this’d become a blog entry.

  162. Pingback: To μαϊμού Apple Store της γειτονιάς σας, made in China | Digital Life

  163. They are selling genuine Apple products at competitive prices.

    Whether ‘fake’ store or not, they shift Apple units sourced from Apple Distributors. And Apple is MADE in China anyways.

    And unlike the ‘real’ Apple store, you can ACTUALLY haggle (ok, it helps to know the dialect).

    So chill….and enjoy Asia.

    • Family and friends living in China buy things like “iPhone 4” in China and somehow it works on the Chinese network, back when iPhones only functioned on USA AT&T. Those products are not ‘real’ Apple products and Apple never sees a dime from it.

  164. If that store leaves out the glass floors, glass elevators, glass stairs of the Apple stores in the UK then that’s a benefit for those of us with Vertigo.

  165. Pingback: [apple]中国のApple Retail Store(偽)がすごい。 | SDBlog

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  167. In China, HARDLY anyone buys Genuine products.


    because you buy the same product made in same factory for 1/5 or 20% of Apple price. Apple is too greedy, too expensive.

    Only ignorant westerners pay full price. Who care if it is legit, In China, it does not matter.

    Ask yourself why Microsoft sells genuine softare for $1, beacuse we are smarter and do not pay rip off prices.

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  169. Can Apple actually do anything about it ? How does that work in China ?

    If you go to see a judge about IP rip-off, do they just laugh in your face ?

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  183. may i use your pic?like this~~~

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  189. Wether or not it is a reseller who is overacting a little bit:
    As long as the “stuff” on sale there is real Apple hardware (that hardware is “Made in China”, thanks for the jobs overthere) those customers won’t care for Steve Jobs’ attitudes towards his brand. And the employees won’t give the least of a shoot too about “fake or not” – as long as they are getting paid for their shifts. (I hope they are getting paid.)

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  195. What’s the big deal, do you work for Apple? I would think this would just make a funny kind of entry but it sounds more like being offended that this could have ever happened to Apple.

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  200. Apple are a bunch of arseholes! Bitter grapes? maybe so… I have been an apple user and technician for 7 years, I have loved and supported the brand since the first imacs and ipods… even the Apple newton!

    However after spending a year trying to get a job working as an Apple Genius and having 5 interviews I am eventually told I am not successful, I am welcome to reapply in 6 month. They also told me that they do not offer feedback… well that’s just great! How am I supposed to work on my weakness in order to succeed next time?!

    In addition their products seem to have lost that special touch… that only intelligent, creative or diverse types had and every tom dick and harry as an apple product which is pretty much outdated with a month of hitting the shelves.

    Apple has become the new shinier and more expensive Dell. I have traded my iphone for a galaxy S2 which provides all the flexibility and multitasking the iphone does not.

    When my imac dies I will not be replacing it with another overpriced (albiet sexy) apple product. They have become nothing more than a corporate organisation.

    Apple if you are reading this… loose the evil empire image you have created for yourselves and go back to the fun quirky grass roots great company that you once were so we can love you once more.

  201. Pingback: Me Blog − Are you listening, Steve Jobs? « BirdAbroad

  202. Pingback: China Fakes Apple Store, not just iPhones and iPods | TechGoggles - Technology Simplified

  203. The last picture cracked me up! Great article, I see China’s copy-cat-rip off spirit is still around.

  204. Pingback: Fake Apple Store Spotted in China? – TIME | APDN

  205. Imagine my shock and horror discovering the General Tso’s chicken sold at my local Chinese food restaurant is in no way Chinese! Imagine!

    Let’s do a miller analogy (remember those?) China is to Food as USA is to:
    a) Clean air and water
    b) Public integrity
    c) Egalitarianism
    d) Branding

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  209. I loved the Apple “Stoer” sign :-)!!! You’ll find some iPhonies there, just like Lisa Simpson. My goodness!!!!!

  210. Blimy, I wouldn’t want to have to tell them apart. That’s the thing about CHina, they just don’t care. You can steal whatever you like and there seems to be no recourse.

  211. Pingback: China Has Fake Apple Stores as Well as Fake Apple Devices! - Apple iPad Forum

  212. Pingback: Blogme » Blog Archive » Are you listening, Steve Jobs? « BirdAbroad

  213. I don’t know, maybe civilization has just arrived to the point to where nothing is original anymore and imitation is now not only the ultra sincerest form of flattery but standard procedure?

    LOL great post by the way.

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  216. An for sure the quality of the computers here are better that in a real Apple store (at least you can change the battery) and of course cheaper :D.

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  220. what a great article and something I honestly didn’t realise happened. I guess I’m very naive with things like that.

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  223. I usually find stores in Malaysia bearing the official reseller sign next to their main signboard. They make a lot of effort to look as “apple” as possible.

  224. Pingback: The ultimate KIRF: fake Apple Store spotted in China | Scripting4You Blog

  225. Wow… This is just hilarious. I am actually travelling to Kunming for work next Monday. Can you tell me where I can find the fake store so I can take pictures with my ipad2 for my geeky husband? Thanks!!!

  226. i mean
    the real whole apple thing is a complete rip-off
    so its nice to see a rip-off-rip-off 😉

    folks, i wish i had your problems… …authorized stores… genuine stores… who cares about STORES??
    fuckin’s sake!

    oh and @mr. more brain, good point, the brain-point: cause such (brand-fascist-)electronic-fashion-gadgets ARE NO medicine! so, instead of talking bout brains, you might start thinking. thanx

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  230. Pingback: China Not Only Makes Counterfeit Apple Products, But Entire Stores too! | Joel Housman

  231. Pingback: Apple rocks China: Can it outrun counterfeiters? | ZDNet

  232. This is quite an amazing story. I wonder what sorts of “controls” US companies (and other countries) will really be able to have in a country like China. As China continues to flex its economic muscle, will companies like APPLE be told that there are new rules? The world is getting flatter indeed. Very astute observations BTW. (Note: I saw this on Google+ with Darren Rowse.)

  233. Pingback: In China ganzer Apple-Store gefälscht! | Computer Blog

  234. Pingback: Fake Apple Stores open in China (Digital Trends) | Rendy Blog

  235. This is on one hand great for Apple, on the other hand it’s not. First it means that there’s demand for their products in Kunming. But it also means that the Apple-brand is abused by someone else.

    Difficult situation but I can imagine that you don’t want your brand to be “stolen” by people.

  236. Ok I have one major question are the products real Apple products and how do you know you ae buying a real product? I would scroll through the comments but 114 is a little hard to do on my phone.. Anyways, are the prices cheaper? Product quality the same? You should test it out.. I am so curious now..

  237. Pingback: En Chine : après la contrefaçon d’iPhone, des Apple Store presque réels ! | – toute l'actualité croustillante du web

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  241. Great post! In 1993, I remember being chased out of a “Gateway” computer store in the Akihabara in Tokyo. They wouldn’t let me take pictures. The top floor of the store had workers still creating displays – with the characteristic cow spots.
    As it turned out, the next week, I had a meeting with Gateway executives on another topic and mentioned visiting “their store”. Oh, you should have seen the shocked look on the face of the VP Marketing.
    Gateway ended up opening their own (first) Tokyo store the next year, just outside the Akihabara.

  242. I have spent the last 2 years in Dalian, in north-east China. They have the same thing. I have seen at least 5 fake Apple stores there and more in other cities. It’s not that the government doesn’t know, it’s just that they don’t care.

  243. Pingback: Fake Apple Stores open in China (Digital Trends) | News Bulletins

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  245. Pingback: Now The Chinese Are Copying Apple Retail Stores, Too « Computer

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  247. Pingback: Attention, Steve Jobs: In China, Fake Apple Stores Where Staffers Think They Work For Apple » CNN Nwes - A Nation of News

  248. a copy of a copy of a copy. We’re all copying something or emulating someone. Your fashion style, to way you eat, the way you learned to talk. Who can pretend to be the originator of anything nowadays? We live in a big mash-up blob mass intercopulating. And everybody wasting time to try to prove who is right: “yes,there is resellers in China”, “no there isn’t”. Little ego games.

  249. Awesome article, I loved it! I’ve been to China a few times (yes, I knew Kunming before reading this) and they certainly have a knack for copying. I’ve never met a Chinese person that thinks that copying is wrong, it’s an art in itself. And they have done it well!

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  251. Pingback: En China copian ¡¡¡ hasta las Apple Store !!! « iPhoneA2 [ iA2 ]

  252. Pingback: Bored With Faking iPhones China Decides To Go Big: Fake Apple Stores | Penn Olson

  253. Great article and totally recognizable… even in Shanghai there are Apple store ripoffs in these extremely large IT warehouses (forgot the name of the famous street where they all were)

  254. Pingback: Completely Fake Apple Stores Found In China | JOB

  255. Pingback: The ultimate KIRF: fake Apple Store spotted in China - Latest Technology Trends

  256. Correct me if I’m wrong but you can’t copyright a store look. What makes a store look like an apple store? White walls, clean minimal design, nice open space, layout of the gadgets on the tables.

    If someone makes a shop that looks like an Apple store and they sell genuine apple products are they actually breaking the any law?

    • They can’t call it an “Apple Store” or use apple logos w/o permission. Just like there is no law against opening a hamburger shop and using a giant yellow M as your logo, but using McDonalds logos and calling it McDonalds would be trademark infringement.

    • >>Correct me if I’m wrong but you can’t copyright a store look.

      Yes you can. It’s falls under “trade dress” —

      “Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers. Trade dress is a form of intellectual property.”

  257. Pingback: Daily Reading: July 20, 2011 | Elliot Ross

  258. Pingback: The ultimate KIRF: fake Apple Store spotted in China | New Tech Lover

  259. This is hilarious! I would have been completely fooled into believing that this is a legitimate Apple Store. I am wondering what the legal implications would be since this “apple store” is using trademarked logos and such.

  260. … awesome story! I can’t help imagining what if all the employees were… CYBORGS!!! Completely realistic except for say peeling fake skin behind the left ear??? I love that you were quick enough to say(or not say!) you were visiting Apple employees from the U.S. brilliant!

  261. I saw one of these shanzhai Apple stores in Xi’an on its East Street next to the Bell Tower. Looks exactly the same as the photos you took.

  262. Behold China: Land of the knock-offs and cheap, unlicensed imitations.

    I can give you just a few examples…
    “Final Combat”, a Chinese knock-off of Team Fortress 2.
    These unlicensed “Apple Store” retail stores.
    Various iPhone handset imitations.
    Various Blackberry imitations.
    Various well-known contraceptive brands.

    The list goes on and on.

  263. Pingback: Fake Apple stores discovered in south-west China | Benjamin Cohen on Technology

  264. Pingback: Fake Apple Stores in Kunming, China? »

  265. Pingback: think counterfeit « eyes open

  266. Can U copyright a building look, or as in this case a store look (my guess is, yes u can), if u walk around and see a store with the unique design that the apples stores are build around the globe + the apple logos plastered all over the store “you will assume immediately that the store is an Apple Store”. They way the Chinese are building their economy is crazy “they copycat everything” God Damn design your own stuff and show the world that u people can make some real gadgets from scratch “Stop stealing others people work”.

  267. Maybe all the fake stores are soo nicely done that the real one has to take a step back to differentiate itself? no?

    THat coUlD haPP3n! 😀

  268. I want to shop their, that is fantastic. Why does this not happen in Florida? That’s it who wants to go, halfsies on a Best Buys, we could sell Windoes and macks products,come on who’s with me? Just think of all of those Sansumgs and Sonie Tvs we could sell.

  269. Well this isn’t anything new, because in my country Apple products are sold in stores similar to Apple Stores but the name is translated in local language, so there is no doubt that they are fake as well

  270. fruits of doing business in China.
    Only thing The US has edge over rest of the World in particular was the IP, thanks to our greedy-pig executive who only thinks of short period Share price and their own bonuses have sold that too to China.
    We’re going to pay for a long time and never recover unless our greedy-pigs do not take actions. I feel that our Business executives and politicians are nothing but bunch of pimps.

  271. People…

    This is how the chinese goverment exists. It allows the manufacturers of Apple components, to get the licensing for such a product as the iPhone to manufacturer (Foxcon).

    Then, that comnpany makes the product for Apple, but siphons off the production run, to place in Chinese rip-off stores. So that Apple makes billions selling to the world, but a second secret plant pumping out iPhones for sale in China.. for the Chinese.

    My friend moved his manufacturering facility to china 11 years ago. 5 years afterwards, he gets a call and find another plant, (nearly identicle to the one he built) right down to having the same assembly (his plans)…

    Making his product. They essentially allowed him to set up shop, make & built his product to sell world wide, only to find out the Chinese don’t care about his patents and are blatantly making his product for sale in china.

    All these American business men that moved their manufacturing to china are finding out the hardway..!

  272. I have heard if fake products but never fake stores. Great post…oh wait a minute, was that just a fake post as well?

    It looked like a real wordpress plog, but then why did it was WORDPRESS BLOG on it, they usually just say WordPress. Hmmmmm.

    Congrats on being Freshly Faked, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Have a great day! Great post really! I loved it.

    Mr Bricks

  273. There’s a new Chinese mall in New York with an “Apple-esque” store. I wouldn’t count them as a rip-off since they took a different name and only sell accessories, but I still thought it was very amusing since it’s obvious they’re going for the same look.

    The other stores in that mall are equally hilarious. I thought they had a Ferrari store, until I noticed it’s a Ferrari “Hair Salon”, complete with the exact logo font:

  274. jesus christ, will it kill them to just try at least building something not more than 1/10th not their own. the “iPeds”, fake italian/french brands, high-speed chinkansen…. please….

  275. Brilliant! We also worked and lived in China and this is very good food for that part of Chinese culture we are missing and left behind, but was the most fun of it all….Their untamable opportunism. Oh yeah..the last picture says Apple Stoer in the sign. We are from the Netherlands and in Dutch Stoer means brave or tough alike and tough and brave this nation is!
    Last; Please let them be, they make towns like Kunming and many like them bearable. Any Chinese citizen with the income to be able to buy “the real deal” will never buy in these kind of stores, that’s a question of maintaining their status and personal branding. Any average Chinese citizen will never be able to buy the real deal……That is what is giving expats jobs and benefits to envy, and the real deal US and European buyers and consumers the ever decreasing retail prices they demand to keep up with their failing economies.

  276. Pingback: Fake Apple Store in China | Just a Sitting Duck

  277. Pingback: A Fake Apple Store …where even the employees were fooled | Diary …for deals, details and distractions

  278. Pingback: Flavorwire » There’s an Entire Fake Apple Store in China

  279. You know, if this were a ripoff of Microsoft, most of the people here would be applauding the Poor, Downtrodden Chinese for sticking their thumb in the company’s eye and saying, “Take that, Bill Gates!”

    But for some reason, the far more avaricious, legendarily nasty, and self-interested Steve Jobs appears to be the pet capitalist of the limousine progressive set, so you are all Horribly Outraged On His Pseudo-Buddhist Behalf.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s possible for ANYONE to accumulate that much power or money without being morally bankrupt, including the Chinese government, so I’ve got no dog in this race. I’m not rooting for any of these chuckleheads. I just find it funny that if you brand rapacious, slave-driving shut-down-the-corporate-charity capitalism with the right logo, the supposedly “no-logo” progressive crowd will still manage to fall for it like a ton of bricks.

  280. If China can knock-off Louis Vuitton, Prada, and other name brands, then they’re taken the rip-off factor a step further with the “Apple Store.”

  281. Where are these THREE shops? I mean the address.

    I see Apple has a few authorized retailers in Kunming. With out address, no one will confirm who you are talking about. Maybe it is just a legal one.

    Further, you say that is a place in Kunming. How do you prove that?? This is really a post lacking very very basic information. Can’t imaging so many people just choose to believe it.

      • You are most likely a faked blogger.
        With China becoming the largest market for Apple, they will open even more authorized stores in China.
        Please delete your posts and apologize to the Chinese, for bashing them for no reason. This is just an authorized store selling genuine Apple products.
        Apple does not even care how the store looks. Funny that you care.

    • There have already been reports corroborating her blog post. An actual employee from the main (FAKE) Kunming Apple Store pictured in the pics on this blog has admitted the Store is a fake, NOT AN AUTHORIZED RESELLER.

      Also, this article tracked down all three stores pictured and verified that NONE of them are Authorized Apple Resellers. Your addresses can be found here in this article:

      And @Bobby, you should apologize to BirdABroad for impugning her character. Everything she posted is true and real. The Chinese that steal others Intellectual Property deserve to be bashed.

      • The writer of this article dared not confirm if this store is selling faked or genuine Apple products.

        Perhaps, a faked store selling genuine Apple products would make it less sensational.

      • No less sensational.

        You have no way of knowing what that store is selling since they are already being dishonest in trying to pass themselves off as being a legitimate Apple Store. Even if the products are genuine Apple products, they could be stolen, refurbished, factory rejects, or obtained in a way that circumvents the Apple Channel distribution so Apple sees no money on the items. You have now way of knowing, nor should you trust that this store isn’t getting the products from the grey market. Also, when someone buys a product from this fake store and tries to take it back for support when it fails, the store won’t be authorized to do any warranty work.

        This is deception plain and simple. It matters not if the products are genuine. It’s the fact that the store is trying to pass itself off as being under the Apple Inc. umbrella when it is not. If the store lies about this, how can you trust anything the store does? You cannot.

  282. Wow, the ripoff really IS quite beautiful. Got to hand it down to China for making a very realistic ripoff.. 😀 It’s a compliment by the way, if you were wondering.

  283. Wow, BirdAbroad, your a tech-celebrity! Need to find a way to monazite your new fame! BTW, all fake chinese iphones and ipads are pretty obvious. If they connect to the app store and the user experience is right, they are real. It’s easier to copy the look than the actual user experience. They could still be syphoned off from the plant, or stolen…

  284. So what? apple made iphone, ipad, ipod from blood and bones of chinese workers. Can they do anything to steven job?

    • I don’t think the Chinese workers were forced to work for Apple and I’m sure they made some cash..

  285. Pingback: The Rise of the Fake Apple Store -

  286. Fake Apple Store is a great idea … as long as I can pay for my purchases with counterfeit money.

  287. Pingback: Apple news of the weird: Knock-offs in China | TechRepublic

  288. Pingback: News – 7/20/2011Brooklyn Art Project | Brooklyn Art Project

  289. Fascinating and very nicely told … crazy, funny, a little disturbing. Maybe we can balance the trade deficit with an intellectual property damages claim :^)

  290. Great (funny) article and the comments are just as interesting! What nobody has said though, which is my opinion, is that Steve Jobs won’t give a hoot. The only people who could be disadvantaged by these stores are the official Apple resellers in China – or at least the ones local to the rip-offs (China is a BIG place). That seems to me to be an issue for Chinese merchant laws, not America’s. It isn’t going to stop the West buying genuine Apple products, and most Chinese don’t have the choice anyway. There is simply NOTHING that Apple can do about this, because it’s happening in China, where US law means squat; so I am sure they will shrug philosophically and take the attitude of most pirated media and entertainment companies. At least mimicry is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery! 🙂 What amuses me most is the awkward position of management, where on the one hand they want to discourage photos because they know their store is fake – but on the other, all their staff think it’s legit, so they are friendly to ‘real’ Apple employees coming to look around. That’s priceless irony!

  291. Yep.. this article reinforces the notion that China immiates but cannot innovate! Not sure Steve Jobs needs to hear any message conveyed by thepost though.

  292. Wow! That’s madness. There must be some law being broken here.. I’m sure it won’t take long for them to be shut down or forced to rebrand. Makes me wonder how many others there are and if it happens in other countries too.. Can’t be an easy task keeping track of imitators.

  293. This is AMAZING!!! The fixtures and merchandising is almost identical, are the staff as knowledgeable? Crazy stuff, this is by far the best post I have ever read. I kind of want to go there!

  294. Great post. I grabbed a couple of these pics and reposted them here: . I credited you and included a link to your post. Please let me know if that’s ok. Thanks very much.

  295. I LOVED the line, “China warps your mind into believing that anything is possible.” I lived in Jiangmen, (near Guangzhou) for a year and everything WAS possible. It’s amazing what some crafty people are able to do!

      • What is the address of the one you photographed ? Are you sure it’s not one of the five resellers who hasn’t got pictures on the apple site ?

        I would love to check with apple too if you got the address. Thanks.

      • If the addresses on the link you gave are the actual addresses of the authorized resellers, then yes – I’m sure this isn’t one of them. Email me at birdabroadblog AT gmail DOT com.

      • The addresses on the link are from apple’s site so I guess they are definitely genuine resellers’ address.

        Are all those pictures taken from the same store ? I noticed some said Apple ‘Store’ and the last one says Apple ‘Stoer’ 🙂

        Please publish the address of the fake shop you blogged about here, even if you type in Chinese Characters, at least someone would be able to track them down.

      • An important question: You say: “RP and I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store.”
        This means they sell fakes? or they sell original Apple products? I’curious…

        I think it’s a real auth. reseller than override all the rulles with a bulldozer. Resellers has to use white furniture, only Apple can use “haya” furniture…


    • 你搜索的城市 “昆明” 找到 13 家经销商。 This means there are 13 resellers in Kuming. 2 Premium Resellers and 11 Resellers. You probably saw 5 because the system is designed to show 5 at a time and you have to click on view next 5 results to view the next 5.

      Birdabroad, can you kindly reveal where the shop is? If is a bona fide reseller, then we shop clear their name of baseless accusations. If they are fake, then we should assist Apple in taking them down.

      There’s a part I found surprising. If the staff and security guards let down their guard after you mentioned that you were Apple employees and the shop is a fake, then either they have been deceived by their boss or they must be really stupid. In China where everything is possible (as so many of you mentioned), a staff or security guard should have pulled out his revolver and shot all of you and erased the photos. Then again, I’ve only read about this sort of shooting and killing happening in America and not China, so I might be wrong about that. .

      • I will not be posting the addresses of the stores on this blog. Feel free to email me at birdabroadblog AT gmail DOT com.

    • These stores are NOT Official resellers.

      There have already been reports corroborating her blog post. An actual employee from the main (FAKE) Kunming Apple Store pictured in the pics on this blog has admitted the Store is a fake, NOT AN AUTHORIZED RESELLER.

      Also, this article tracked down all three stores pictured and verified that NONE of them are Authorized Apple Resellers. You can find the addresses of the fake stores here in this article:

  296. Pingback: The Ultimate Knock-Off: A Fake Apple Store - China Real Time Report - WSJ

  297. Wow, great story and photos. I am shocked and amazed that they pull this off. Do you know how long the stores have been running? Feel sorry for the employees that really think they are working for Apple.

  298. Pingback: NewsBot QuickTake: Fake Chinese Apple Store « Giant Robot

  299. For that reason I think China can never be involved into the spacial race, or right after they land in the moon, give them 3 days and a 2nd faked moon will suddenly apear in the night sky. lol

    Love Chinese people but they have lack of creativity when it is to make something new.

    See you Shanghai in September.

      • Not that you lack creativity but yes most of the Chinese people as you quite know it. Not being kind of hilariously hypocrite about the subject. You know very well if you go hit some stores in Miame – US, Ciudad del Este – Paraguay, Panama and loads of other countries you will always find faked stuffs from China. Not too bad, sometimes I buy them but I really appreciate the originality when creating.

        To complete my point, I definitely know quite a lot of Chinese people that are creative, open minded and with fantastic outlook. Do get you self into the bad group if you are creative and willing for inovation.


    • Dude, creativity cost money. Replicating creates money. As a Businessman which path would you take given limited resources?

      • I utterly agree with you if it is about financial elements that we are putting on the table. But you ought to know that to be creative can generate loads for a single person. Business much more the collective wealth where but for sure that is generating much more money.

        So that is not what I’d said, but being creative still a very good way to make a nice money. If you can be creative and a good business manager so I am sure you are going to reach the sky!

  300. Whether you are willing to use the word “brand” or not, when you put “it” out in the modern insta-culture, you risk losing control of it.

  301. This is awesome. Thanks to the publicity of this, Apple will be on their cases. You know they will. Apple is like Disney in that if you work for them and accidentally post the wrong thing they will immediately contact you and tell you to take it down with 24 hours or you’re fired.

    In other words, Apple will be like “Beech, please!” and kick these guys across town. They’ve got people just to do that job.

  302. apple wont do anything because THEY ARE WELL AWARE OF IT. They’ve been well aware of it. Stores like that only pop up where there aren’t real authorized dealers.

  303. Fascinating! Mainly because we that we are on the dealer bussiness we know how hard is Apple with their conditions.
    Last ones include that the furniture couldn’t more made locally. We have to buy (around 200.000$) from Apple itself.
    But I have an important question: You say: “RP and I went inside and poked around. They looked like Apple products. It looked like an Apple store.”
    This means they sell fakes? or they sell original Apple products? I’curious…

  304. Man, the Chinese have a real talent for intellectual property theft. It’s not a dig, just really the truth.

  305. I live in Dalian…there are tons of these “Apple” stores. Of course, 2 of them are right across the street from the giant electronics market, which itself houses multiple Apple (and other company) counters.

  306. So the store owner decorated his store based on the design of an Apple store to sell Apple products, what’s the problem here? Apple couldn’t have patented its Apple Store interior decoration, could it?

    And BTW, do you even understand the difference between ripoff and knockoff?

  307. Dear lady, when you catch your breath, would you care to share your experience of suddenly becoming a focus of internet celebrity ? It’s never happened to me, and I’m curious. TIA.

  308. What I don’t understand is how you decided this was a “fake” store? Was it deduced from the lack of details alone? Their name tags and the logo and the fact that it wasn’t listed? This whole thing sounds like a massive assumption.

  309. if you think kunming is a stretch, you can imagine my surprise at stumbling upon an apple store in guiyang (the capital of one of the poorest provinces). steve, if you’re on the prowl, its in the mall where the ice skating rink once existed–which was our original plan when we discovered it mid-demolishing.

    hilarious post, you made me miss home!

  310. I noticed that someone said China should cut the west off. Personally I have no problem with that. We dont need the heavy metals in our kids toys,dogs food,formula etc. in addition to the fact that China has been known for decades to pirate anything thats popular and trying to get lawsuits out of it for such things…well I know for a fact thats almost impossible. If the West stopped outsourcing jobs to China,wheat and rice to China etc. until they put a stop to such things,it would change. But the west wont. Its a pity. And as one person said about it being that the wests workers are unproductive., its that you can get someone do do the job that would cost 15$/hr in the US for like 15$ per day. That much I know for a fact as I was with a company at one point that did outsource some of its tech support specifically for that reason,until the quality control was so bad they had to take most of it back.

  311. This is the same as you’ll see in Thailand with Copperwired. They have Apple Centers and Apple Stores in Bangkok too. It’s just something that license over there. This one in the picture is remarkable as they are ripping off the look entirely. At least in Thailand Copperwired will be wearing their own logo shirts even if their store is completely inspired by Apple Stores.

  312. I’m loving reading the comments. The huge range of informed-ness.

    People who are surprised to hear this exists. (Yeah, all over the world. This one is exceptional only for being well-executed.)

    People who don’t understand why this shouldn’t exist.

    People who think Apple can do something about it.

    People who understand why Apple can’t.

    People who think there’s no harm done.

    The guy who thinks the store must have been real and the writer didn’t know the difference.

    The guy who thinks if stuff is “real” then it’s just the same as buying it from Apple. (Here’s your AppleCare paperwork. What’s your serial number?)

    The ones wondering why Apple should care. (Here’s a hint: They didn’t actually BUY the stuff from Apple.)

  313. I forwarded this to a friend of mine who works at Apple in Cupertino, California, and she forwarded it to the group that handles their China group.

  314. To all of you who think Apple (or Disney) can enforce IPR in China, you are dreaming. This isn’t your world (or Apple’s world) over here. IPR is 99.99% ignored and is violated as often as rice is cooked for lunch.

    Kunming is well-known to yuppie tourists because of the rock climbing and the close proximity to Vietnam. Also, IPR has never been a popular concept in China, so this is not surprising at all. I see dozens of shops with poorly crafted white bite logos selling Apple products on every street corner in Shanghai, have seen them for the whole six years I’ve been here. Using signs with the actual words “Apple Stoer” [sic] is something I haven’t seen before. I sent email to Steve Jobs five years ago about Apple sports shoes in China using the bite logo, but it seems they don’t care, since they have little chance of successfully defending their rights in China. Curious to know if those “Apple Stoers” are selling any Mac software discs, especially if they have Snow Leopard or Lion DVDs for typical street prices. Only the real Apple store in Shanghai has Mac OS DVDs out on display, but without the give-away pricing you see on all street vendor pirated discs. The wannabee shops will offer to burn you a copy (with an outrageous price compared with typical pirate software), but are not putting it out on display — especially not for the same price as Windows 7 on the street (5-8 RMB or US$0.75-$1.25).

  315. This is clearly an Apple distributor, with distributor rights. I get what you tried to do but I think you should be a little bit more professional and check the facts before trying to “break” some headline news about an issue that doesn’t exist. There are many cases like this one around the world where regional distributors open stores following certain Apple aesthetic and service guidelines.

    • The stores I photographed are not on the list of official resellers in Kunming that Apple itself published.

      • Trying to side-step the issue? Just Saying brought up the valid point of checking the facts, actually researching the company and requesting an official response from Apple Corp. Simply putting as “fact” from what you saw/experienced/photograph does not make it true. All we read are your assertions and references to the Apple website. Entertaining piece, especially for those China/India bashers (they’ll eagerly lap it all up – “serve them right cos they stole my job!”, “duh, 10 of them not even close to matching 1 of us geniuses”), but if you want it to be legit, this kind of “research” just doesn’t cut it.

    • I’ll keep posting this over and over until you people quit bashing the author of this blog. She’s telling the truth.

      These stores are NOT Official resellers.

      There have already been reports corroborating her blog post. An actual employee from the main (FAKE) Kunming Apple Store pictured in the pics on this blog has admitted the Store is a fake, NOT AN AUTHORIZED RESELLER.

      Also, this article tracked down all three stores pictured and verified that NONE of them are Authorized Apple Resellers. You can find the addresses of the fake stores here in this article:

  316. There’s a Hard Rock Cafe in Cancun, México, and for several years thousands of tourist bought real fake t-shirts, it was a copy of a HRC, so well done that the people in London decided to sell them a franchise, and now is a legit store, I’ve always wondered if they supplied with legit memorabilia or if they keep the fake ones hanging on the walls.

    Some years later a wise guy went to Cuba and saw a bussiness opportunity in “La Bodeguita de Enmedio” the iconic bar where Hemminway drank his mojitos; the guy came back to México and realized that the name wasn’t registered by the cuban gov. so he launches his own 100% legal franchise company selling the name “La Bodeguita de Enmedio” in a counry that happens to love all cuban related things.

  317. What’s Apple going to do about this? They’ll probably try to use their corporate might to shut these stores down and seek compensation, thus leaving the proprietors of these fake stores to crawl away with their tails between their legs. Intellectual rights will be enforced and all will be well.

    Here’s the reality : Apple’s going to use their corporate might to shut these stores down and seek compensation. The proprietors of these fake stores probably have powerful connections and lobbies the Chinese Government. The Chinese government clamps down on the factories manufacturing Apple products in China. Apple crawls away with their tail between their legs because it’s not worth jeopardizing the “good” arrangement they have with Chinese manufacturing by chasing after “small fry”.

    It sucks, but that’s what I think will probably happen.

  318. Many years ago, I spend some time traveling (1987) and working (1989-90) in China… I even went to Kunming. While in Kunming I got sick drinking bottled soda that was sold on the street… while I was laid up with the worst case of dysentery I ever had, I read a Travel book that said many people bottled their own soda at home and sometimes they would just use tap water, which could easily cause dysentery… (and in my case it did). So I physically understand the damage counterfeiting can do.

    I am not surprised at what China allows. I believe the Chinese government will do whatever it takes to become THE World Super-power. I know many people out there will just think this counterfeit Apple Store is the result of an unscrupulous Chinese businessman… and it might (but I believe that the Chinese government will allow this theft if it will benefit China).

  319. PS. I wouldn’t be surprised if the products being sold are genuine apple products because they probably came from the same factory!

  320. Unless all the products in this store are fake or stolen, Apple Channel (the division responsible for all the Authorized Preferred Reseller branches, as well as store-in-store displays) surely knows about this store, even if it’s not on the list of authorized stores on the website. Though perhaps they didn’t follow up after the store opened – the employees definitely shouldn’t have the T-shirts and badges…

  321. Lived in China for 5 years and you are right. Expect anything. It is very possible a building or business that was there last week is gone and a completely new building standing in its place. My wife is Chinese and after 3 years living in the U.S. she finaly has decided that drinking cold water is nicer then drinking hot water. Good luck and great post

  322. Holy Geez!
    That’s craziness. If I do recall correctly though I once heard that in China imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that there is really no such thing as copyrights over there. I however believe no one at Apple would be flattered;). Part of me can’t imagine they don’t know though. Maybe they are just letting these stores do their advertising and if they do well then Apple will shut them down and set up shop. I can tell the guy in the blue “Apple” shirt was not pleased being photographed. Clever that you told them that you may (or may not…:) ) be American Apple employees. Don’t know that I would have been that quick on my feet. Congrats on being FP!

  323. OK. These are legit Apple resellers. Apple isn’t going to open stores all over China. They’d rather just let local people do it.

    You can find a list of stores at
    There it says: Apple 授权经销商是独立机构,并不由 Apple 运营。
    “These stores are independent retailers who have acquired the right to resell Apple products, and are not associated with Apple.”

    Now, maybe the agreement was for these stores to display “reseller” prominently. But it doesn’t really matter. There may also be actual fake stores selling fake products, or shoddy genuine products that didn’t pass QA testing. But you can’t tell them apart.

  324. Whoa. How’d they get all of that stuff? The advertising, the set-up, the products, etc.? Crazy. When I was in China, I didn’t find a fake Apple store, but I did find two funny things:
    – A camera store selling fake Canon products (they had cleverly tilted the “o” in Canon a different way so that only a truly discerning eye could tell).
    – A lady had tiles in her bathroom, each with its own little painting of a piece of fruit. All the fruit looked sort of realistic… except for the apple… which was just the Apple logo facing backwards. Shameless.

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  326. Apple wants free promotion through those pirate stores, otherwise they would have been shut down by now

  327. This how it works. The factories that make the real products for Apple, Ping (golf clubs) etc just crank up their factories at night or whenever and produce larger quantities than the ship to the legitimate companies warehouse. e.g. Three for you one for me, Three for you, one for… Then they sell them to countries who allow parallel importing (like NZ) or in the Chinese markets or to brokers. You can buy a set of REAL golf clubs for $100 in China (And they are the real thing!)…

  328. When I lived in Hangzhou, I figured that if I bicycled from end to end and then started over again, everything would have been rebuilt. My return after a year away was like moving to a new city. Oh, and I saw a vehicle that proudly claimed to be a Volov. Um, pirating Volvos? Why not?

  329. I want me some Ipad2 from the Apple China store. I wonder what it will cost me online if I was to order? at the most maybe $150 bucks. YAY! Just got myself an Ipad2 china made hehehehe.

  330. i actually dont see the problem with stores besides apple seling apple products, its done all over the world. hong kong has many ‘apple’ stores ( there is not an official store there).
    when people buy the computers they can register and buy apple care. at this point it becomes clear whether or not its a ‘genuine’ apple product.
    i too live in yunnan. and i’ve brought my mac to the beijing apple store for repairs and was appalled at the service. they actually recommended that i visit an apple repair center that was not owned by apple , i did and these people were great, super professional and quick.

    americans are obsessed with brand names. they love their hiltons,starbucks and wallmarts ( theres is now a wallmart near our little rural village!)…but the chinese are actually capable of doing a much better job . they are super smart and motivated. and it wont be long before we will see ‘fake’ chinese brand shops in denver and los angeles.

    henrik drescher ( dali,yunnan)

  331. I dunno aye…Is there like a trademark on the “official apple store”. Is there something that says “Your store cannot look like a proper apple store if you are a reseller”.

    Atm this post fails to deliver anything of value. Maybe if you can confirm that the products are fake/counterfeit then i give ur post a thumbs up.

  332. I recently went to Cancun, Mexico, and went to a store very similar to this. They were selling iPhones, Macbooks, iPods, etc. It said Apple Store in the front and seemed to sell Apple name brand electronics. The store was located in a well versed shopping mall in the heart of Cancun along with other name brand company stores, I.E; Puma, Nike, Chili’s, Cinemark Theatres, Hooters, McDonalds, Lacoste, etc. The only thing is on Apple’s website, they didn’t even list Mexico as one of the countries they had stores in.

  333. Why would anyone need to get from authorized retailer ?

    I worked as one of the staff at a very well known authorized reseller in Singapore. Seriously, u can get a better deal elsewhere.

    For Apple, authorized reseller rips Apple off by selling those third party products. Furthermore, if Apple is so lazy as not to open a native store, then serves them right.

    Btw, fake stores appear in Singapore too !

  334. are you living in a cave, these stores have been all over China for a while, and 99% of them are selling real Apple products and are authorized Apple resellers. You must be really ignorant to be living in China and just now see these store.

    Such a shame that this is being picked up around the world and put on the news.

  335. For anything coming out of China, we need to think 10 times before making a purchase. If they can fake the Apple store, they can fake anything. I don’t understand how can they be proud of themselves?

    The world’s fastest growing economy can one day become the world’s fastest collapsing economy if this kind of attitude continues.

  336. The approximate location of the Apple shop in this post can be found by googleling “E-Land kunming”

  337. Todd:
    Who owns the server at “”? Not Apple, as far as I know. Even if it does turn out to be a genuine Apple server, I notice it only lists resellers in the Americas, so that’s why no China or India. The real server in the U.S. is In China, it is
    Look here to find a reseller in the U.S.:
    Look here to find a reseller in China:

  338. Well first things first, congrats on making national news. Secondly, before I even clicked on the link at Yahoo news I knew this had to be in China! I spent some time in Hebei province and came across a fake Starbucks and after a quick search found out that this is quite the norm in China. I had a feeling it was fake to begin with (Hidden in the back of a Dell store, Starbucks signs hung up with rope, etc.) but after a search at the company’s website, my suspicions were confirmed.

  339. China is not keen on piracy and originality. Here in our country, there are lots of “China phones”, which look like phones by Apple but you’ll easily know they aren’t legit since they’re too cheap.

  340. But… If production occurs in China, the product from these bootleg (albeit well disguised) Apple stores may very well sell the real thing. I mean, they often sell “genuine” products in stores(ie. phones, electronics, accessories, clothing) that were manufactured in China, they just simply were not passed through the company themselves, or distributed through a licenced distributor, essentially stolen property.
    So, although these poor souls are being laughed at for artificially working for Apple, they might be selling the real thing..?
    Of course, I’m Chinese, what would I know? 🙂

  341. Dear All. I am in Hangzhou Now. Good news for hearing the HANGZHOU at here. bad news for the fake APPLe store.. THe lucky point is the products at there are genuine…. Though heaps fake products here. hahahha

  342. Chinese products are cheap, but can be either fake or toxic. Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish!

  343. Just an FYI…Kumming is not a small city. It has about 6 million people. It also has some of the best weather in all of China. They call it the Eternal Spring because it doesn’t get too cold or too hot.

  344. Why the arrogance? Whose pockets are people filling who work for ‘genuine’ Apple stores? Seriously, why all the bitterness? Someone had a good idea and is riding the wave. Let them.

  345. Wow, your article really did great! I was surfing the net and most people were busy talking about your latest visit to China and how you discovered the Apple Store there! Great find, if you ask me.

  346. this is unbelivable! :O did you notice in the last picture they spelled “store” “stoer” that could have been a clue it was fake too haha so what are the products? just imitations?

  347. I’m surprised at how surprised so many people here are…. is it really that surprising..? Honestly? I guess when you never look outside your own country with its high morals and “perfection” as you see it, you forget that there is the rest of the world out their with its “own” high morals and perfection.

    Ignorance, such blissful ignorance.

    Good on you China.. and I’m sure if Apple puts some weight on China, all that will happen is some token gesture to shut down a handful of these stores; plaster the news reports of the closures all over the place and then it’s back to business as usual and hopefully those pesky western corporations will go away and leave China to itself.

  348. To those who have an apple product which you think you have purchased it in US or I can say that you have a genuine one. Do you mind to check where it was made?

    • On genuine Apple products we’re never told where it’s ‘made’ only the place they we’re ‘assembled’ and in recent years they’ve all been “assembled in china” (shanghai to be exact). If you are worried, you should visit the Apple site and check the serial number for warranty coverage.

  349. This has been photoshopped. The picture that says “Apple Stoer”, if you look in the reflection you can clearly see a mirrored image of the word “Store”.

    • It was written twice across the outside of that store, once below (“Store”) and once above (“Stoer”). The last two photos on the post are of the same place.

      The great thing about China is that it doesn’t need photoshopping – it’s hilarious just as it is. 🙂

      • The writer of this article dared not confirm if this store is selling faked or genuine Apple products.

        Why it is so hard to confirm if this store is selling real Apple products?

        Perhaps, a faked store selling genuine Apple products would make this blog less sensational.

        The author is trying to give people the impression that this faked store is selling faked products, when it is selling genuine products.

      • No less sensational.

        You have no way of knowing what that store is selling since they are already being dishonest in trying to pass themselves off as being a legitimate Apple Store. Even if the products are genuine Apple products, they could be stolen, refurbished, factory rejects, or obtained in a way that circumvents the Apple Channel distribution so Apple sees no money on the items. You have now way of knowing, nor should you trust that this store isn’t getting the products from the grey market. Also, when someone buys a product from this fake store and tries to take it back for support when it fails, the store won’t be authorized to do any warranty work.

        This is deception plain and simple. It matters not if the products are genuine. It’s the fact that the store is trying to pass itself off as being under the Apple Inc. umbrella when it is not. If the store lies about this, how can you trust anything the store does? You cannot.

        And Bobby unless you have personally inspected every product that store has sold, you cannot make the statement that the store is in fact, selling genuine Apple products. Quit being a homer and just admit that what is going on here is wrong.

  350. Steve Jobs debería denunciar esta clase de cosas en lugar de estar perdiendo el tiempo con sus litigios hacia HTC por las patentes.

    Una cosa es que compres algo a sabiendas de que es falso. Otra cosa es vender algo a sabiendas de que probablemente el comprador sea inconsciente de la falsificación que está adquiriendo.

    Seguro que más de algun pobre desgraciado sale de la tienda muy contento pensando que se ha llevado un “auténtico” iPhone 4.

  351. I lived in Hohhot (Huhehaote) in 2009-2010. I didn’t go in, but I’m pretty sure I saw at least one Apple Store (which was obviously fake, I now realize).

  352. What’s wrong? Means they r not selling original Apple products or not authorised Apple reseller? If not authorised, not wrong to sell as long products are not fakes, if they are selling fakes, they won’t allow the author to take pics after she (may or may not) identify herself as a fake Apple employee.

  353. Before we get too carried away here, which of apple’s rights are being egregiously violated? the right to design cool hip stores? do they have a patent for that? (yes their retail logo is being stolen, what a shock. it’s done every day in NYC too to LV, DKNY etc) and unless the merch is in fact 100% fake or 100% stolen, then they somehow bought real apple products from apple (at some point in the supply chain).

    so i guess the real apple right that is being violated is the right to have fanboys/girls all over the world who only buy merch directly from the mothership and dr. s. jobs. think different indeed.

  354. When I was in China in 2009 I bought an iPhone from an electronics mall in Dalian. I made one call out to make sure it worked, and it passed the test. And that was about all it did. When I got it home and tried to use it, the UI was next to unresponsive and in the end I put it on the street and let cars run over it.

    When I bought it, I wasn’t sure if it was an Apple product or not, but I thought it would at least work, but no, it was a total POS. I paid about $200 for it, and together with the $120 I had pick-pocketed from me, I lost $320 to overt thieves and more to the crooks and cheats who don’t live up to their commitments.

    Intellectual property rights are a joke, on the campus of Peking University, allegedly their No. 1 university, you can take a text book to the local print shop and have a copy by afternoon, no questions asked. Of course, someone will plagiarize something from the forged text book for their assignment or for their PhD.

    I’ve been there three times and once was enough. It’s a place with no principles whatever, other than to make money by any means.

  355. It seems our Western laws – copyright, patents, trademarks – are increasingly limited to our Western world only. And imposing our will upon others is no longer an option.

  356. NIce, but who cares? Why is Apple creating such a news to everybody? Its a manufacturer of hard- and software, that’s it.

  357. My wife and I are living abroad in China as well (we’ve just passed the one year mark) and everything you say is totally true! lol

    I laugh a lot at what I see in U.S. headlines about China. They really need to get people who live here to write for them.

  358. You’ve made it into mainland news in a big way. I just did a quick search in Baidu news, but the URL is too long to paste and it seems I can’t insert a link here. Nevertheless, if you search for “昆明苹果商店” (Kunming Apple Store) about half a dozen of the articles that come up on the first page are based on your blog (most of them from online tech sites). My favourite is this one (, which shows the official store in Sanlitun. I liked this one as well (; the title actually used the English “Apple Stoer” in the Chinese title. Someone clearly has a sense of humour…

    It’s interesting that all the stories in Chinese (that I looked at) agree wholeheartedly that the stores you photographed are fake. One of them even related it to the Da Vinci sofa scandal (in which a retailer of expensive foreign sofas has been accused of producing some of their products in local factories).

  359. Ironically the iPhone 4 from this store doesn’t come with all those dropped call problems….hey also looks a lot like the apple store over here in Wagga Wagga, Australia! 🙂

  360. Maybe it’s time ot move production back to the Weest, where there’s at least a pretense of law and order?

    Otherwise, this is the price Apple pays for slave wages and worker exploitation.

  361. No surprise.. apple products are made in china…my iclone most likely came from the same factory.

  362. Hah, props to the writer for the find and the store for the detailed copying…

    More amazing, though, are the once again die hard apple fans crying crimes against humanity. From their perceived Western moral high horse, poking fun at the seemingly ignorant Chinese. It’s simply a different world there and their values and standards are different from our western standards.

    Btw, your and my real iPhones and other Apple products ARE made in China. They are just designed in California, get a clue.

  363. Did anyone check if these stores are certified Apple Resellers? Don’t you think it’s possible that they might just be resellers that went all out in the design?

  364. This was amazing to see, great article, right on the spot ! It’s amazing how they (Chineese) can copy everything, they are very eficient, though in the long run it’s not really that helpful! I wonder how come they don’t try more to create/invent their own brands .. and seriously increase the quality of products – this would be a much greater long term strategy – but i guess nowadays everything it’s about speed and quick profit ..

  365. Back in the day, Taiwan also ignored copyright infringement laws as well. Is there something in the Chinese gene pool that has an outlaw propensity?

  366. I wonder, if so called fake stores write that “Be careful from other duplicate apple producers and sellers, we are the sole authorized ISO 9001-2009 certified proprietor and distributor of apple products”.

  367. Nice scoop BirdAbroad! Ha ha. We all know stuff like this goes on, but this is pretty funny.

    Like alot of the posters tho, i wonder if the products are legit or knock offs? If they are legit, how do these stores make a profit? If they are knock offs….well…THAT is a more serious issue.

    Keep us posted Bird!

  368. I’m a Chinese currently studying in USA. You guys are actually so ignorant to think Chinese need to feel like they are in Apple Store to buy an Apple? They did it for the ambiance. If an item is hot in China, they don’t care where they buy it, they’ll find a way.

    If Apple pulls out of China, their total revenue will drop by at least a significant margin. Apple should thank these “FAKE” stores for helping them sell their product. It’s not like Apple paid to build these stores, these people built it to sell Apple’s products. If you ask me, it is a very smart business move on Kunming outlet’s owner.

    From the picture, you do see that the FAKE Apple Store does have quite a few customers, and I believe they do sell pretty well. Apple has this fella to thank. My 2 cents!

  369. Wow, that’s really interesting. OK, I’m never taking my Mac for repairs if something happens to it in China. I wouldn’t be able to tell if the place was a rip-off store!

  370. It’s unbelieveable.
    What will Apple do?
    Are there any reactions in the “Apple stoer” in Kunming already? (when will it be shut down?)

  371. We are also impressed by the e-pad – an interesting i-Pad clone, with Android and i-Pad like User Interface. Very scalable, it looks and works like an i-PAD. The truth is that the Chinese version of the i-PAD is very legal and is selling well across America through e-Bay and Europe. Long live China!!!!

  372. OH MY GOD..This is soo soo awesome..Chinese can do anything
    salutes them for their farziness ..They can make a replica of anything. I wait for the day when Fake Chinese apple stores would be better than actual ones and ppl will prefer going to the fake ones

  373. What is the big deal? What special about the “real” Apple Store. Wooden tables were used there so no one else is allow to use the same! Racism is innated in those Supreme Americans.

  374. When you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Apple should just write all this off as the price of moving their operation to the Pirate Paradise that is China.

  375. What is the big deal? What special about the “real” Apple Store. Wooden tables were used there so no one else is allow to use the same! Racism innate in those Supreme American beings.

  376. After freaking out for a couple of seconds, and reminded of the same chemicals they used to make plastics and glue which they added to milk and exported. Ok What’s New?!?!

  377. And this society is positioning to be the new global economic power – by lying, cheating and stealing – how is this ok? Why is everyone clamouring to be a part of this, and enable this? Fascinating. Instructive. Informative. Its lots of things, but it certainly is not right. And it is not limited to Apple – this behaviour and ‘way of thinking’ is pervasive through material ‘schtuph’ to entire towns. And looking at their appalling environmental management practices, this is a morally bankrupt society – demonstrating little to no social responsibility in almost any measure.

    • You’re in no position to set what is right or any other moral standard for a whole other society that is much older than your own and that you also benefit from. The only things keeping many in the West from OPENLY lying, cheating and stealing are the laws enforced to keep the rich and poor where they are. It’s a different society in China, ironically the closest thing to a free market at the merchant level, and I say kudos to them for playing the system well.

    • As opposed to slavery and colonisation (Americans and Europeans would not be where they are today without them), and now tariffs, protectionism and unfair trade laws that benefit Team America at the expense of the rest of the world? The hypocrisy is incredible.

      • Most of those tariffs and trade laws went out the window when the United States ratified NAFTA and GATT and entered the World Trade Organization. Then came the sucking sound as all the US manufacturing jobs went overseas now that US companies could circumvent US Labor and Environmental laws by contracting cheap low wage foreign labor from countries that have no such laws. If the US still had such tariffs, the trade deficit between the US and China wouldn’t be at a record $270 Billion. That’s right, Team America enacted some really beneficial trade laws to see $270 billion more coming in imports from China than what it exported out to China.

        Get a clue, or at least look up some facts to support your asinine statements.

  378. IP rights in China are ridiculously bad, but in this case are the Macs, ipads, iphones, etc that they are selling legitimate/ If they are i would say it’s much better to mimic the look of a store and sell legitimate products than selling fake products in a non-mimiced store.

    • The writer of this article dared not confirm if this store is selling faked or genuine Apple products.

      Perhaps, a faked store selling genuine Apple products would make this blog less sensational.

      The author is trying to give people the impression that this faked store is selling faked products, when it is selling genuine products.

  379. Just one thing IF APPLE is not concerned about the fake apple store then why should WE? They said that they still we be opening 2 new stores they are not sending the police to shut them down they are not doing anything because they are still getting paid regardless. Because if i buy a face apple product it might work good for a while but eventually it will start to malfunction and then when they find out that its no good then they will have to buy a new one and so which ever way apple still wins I Say just don’t fall for the name and just cause everyone is getting an apple get things for you and not for style .

  380. Ahh western intellectual property rights who but you, gives a toss!
    The west stole the intellectual rights of China’s Silk and Gunpowder not to mention porcelain, then smuggled it’s tea plants out of the country whilst robbing the country of its silver and whatever else they could lay their grasping hands on, at the point of a gun by forcing the people to buy opium that they had diluted 75% with elephant droppings!
    Payback time!

  381. Not to be Buzz Killington, but what I worry about is that the boss is going to clean house in the middle of the night and bail without paying any of the employees that think they are working for Apple.

  382. I noticed this has been picked up by the world press ( Reuters is carrying your post ) . I hate to spoil the fun but aren’t these perfectly legitimate Apple Licensed Re-seller stores?

    There are a few here in Shanghai

  383. This is flipping amazing. The level of effort to make a knock off environment is hilarious. This is an incredible snapshot of unregulated free markets. Love the pictures, love the story you told.

  384. the Kunming “Apple Store” has been around for some years. I think it first started circa 2007. it’s two bus stops from where i used to stay. the only authorised apple distributor in Kunming (at least during the years I was in kunming) is actually an electronics shop near the city’s zoo.

  385. This gives new meaning to the words “free market”. And why do we continue to give our wealth to this country?

    • If it weren’t for China buying US treasuries, the US would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. However, you’re correct in the sense that we’ve shipped all our production overseas because the government has legislated American industry into extinction.

  386. isn’t it great. At least this Chinese rip-off store owner understands its clientele. It would even be nice if the store owner sold the new Lion OS on a thumb drive or CD. Most of my friends living in China would love to have such a store nearby with impeccable service. After all Steve Jobs do not accepts their Debit Cards and the download speed of the Internet here in China makes it virtually impossible to download the OS. Let’s hope the owner of this store keeps up the good work and show Cupertino how a business should be ran.

    • Your post exemplifies the culture in China of stealing what is not rightfully yours. What gives these people the right to steal? Because the bandwidth is poor? Are you seriously joking? Oh…sorry your government condones this, so it must be OK.

      • I have seen a cartoon article, where a company had a pool for fishing, In neighborhood, few more company came, so this company built a wall around its pool. Now other companies started using fishing rod over the wall.
        The idea stealing is rampant all over the world. This is why this IPR and other laws have been enacted. But is it stopped? In many respected research centres, this is being practiced.
        So, though it is your right to cry foul, does not mean that everybody will lend you a ear. Afterall, You also did the same thing at some point.

  387. This wouldn’t happen if they were producing them in the USA. Good job with the site. It’s beautiful and you should do well! 🙂

  388. Plagarism, copyright infringement, trademark infringement are facts of life in the global marketplace. Unfortunately in countries around the world there is little or no recourse to stop infringers. The only alternative is to stop selling in those countries, which also bears no fruit (they just keep on a stealin’).

    Digital copyright infringement in the US and elsewhere is RAMPANT. Enforcement is difficult in the US… imagine how hard it must be overseas.

  389. O pior é que os próprios funcionários acreditam estar trabalhando para a Apple…

    Pirataria perfeita, quem não conhece os produtos compram sem problemas…

  390. Yes I am in Sichuan in West China. I saw a new looking Apple Shop by the recently renovated Sichuan University North Gate a couple of days ago.

    I just went past it in a Taxi, but it had the Apple Logo and the words “Apple Store” on the front sign. It looked like an Apple Shop, rather than a reseller with own brand name. It’s also not listed as a reseller on the Apple China website.

    All this is nothing to be surprised about, but it is funny. Seriously though, why should the people of regional Chinese cities not have access to Apple products? If Apple can’t keep up with demand, others will.

    I say as long as they sell and service real apple stuff, what’s the problem. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all extra product made on weekend production line runs.

    Seriously, what wouldn’t Foxconn do to add to their bottom line? They are building a factory in Chengdu, after all. Can’t get any employees though, so they’re cutting deals with government to get technical colleges in back-of-boondocks county towns to convince their students to start their careers at Foxconn.

    • Totally agree. Local Chinese with enough capital to know and buy Apple brand wouldn’t take kindly to cheap knock-offs and the fact that the store has been there for more than 2 years means that they sell real products at a mark up or they sell knock-offs that are pretty close in quality. Fly-by-night trickster merchants would be as hated as anywhere in the world and certainly wouldn’t have such a bling store.

    • I totally agree with tamalias. I live in Kolkata (India), its quite difficult to get apple products through Apple Store if you just go outside Kolkata and most importantly,the service

      There are only two official Apple Premium Resellers (in Kolkata). But you will see lot of “Apple Stores” listed in local business sites.

      I agree that, the China “Apple Store case” is an extreme case.

      But, why we are so much ignored? Most importantly, why Apple is not interested to sell their products in South East Asian Region? Its rare to see an Apple Ad in standard Bengali Newspapers here.

  391. Hey. I think MOST of us know that our iphones are made in China. Duh. Just because someone comments on the outrageousness or absurdity of these knock off stores doesn’t mean they are anti chinese or ignorant of the ways of the world. Nor does it instantly make them a rah rah sis boom bah flag waving America does no wrong automaton.

    The world is a complex place. There are injustices and hypocrises in every country.

    Having said that….and i hope you can hear me from way up here on my “high horse”….I will take our Freedoms we enjoy here over China’s ANY day. 😛

  392. You needn’t go to China to find a fake Apple store. There’s one in South Coast Plaza, here in Southern California. Looks like an Apple store, but it is staffed by a bunch of complete d-bags who treat the store like their private club, completely ignoring customers.

  393. I can tell you they will be selling real Apple Computers, there is a demand for them and there’s a good margin to be made. They certainly won’t be tricking people into paying full price for a fake computer.

    While Chinese customers don’t mind paying low prices for what they know to be fakes, they don’t take kindly to being ripped off with full-price fakes.

    It’s one thing to sell a tourist a vinyl “leather” wallet in a market, it’s another thing entirely to try ripping off locals.

    Can’t be sure about the accessories such as power packs etc. though.

  394. Yes I am in Sichuan in West China. I saw a new looking Apple Shop by the recently renovated Sichuan University North Gate a couple of days ago.

    I just went past it in a Taxi, but it had the Apple Logo and the words “Apple Store” on the front sign. It looked like an Apple Shop, rather than a reseller with own brand name. It’s also not listed as a reseller on the Apple China website.

    All this is nothing to be surprised about, but it is funny. Seriously though, why should the people of regional Chinese cities not have access to Apple products? If Apple can’t keep up with demand, others will.

    I can tell you they will be selling real Apple Computers, there is a demand for them and there’s a good margin to be made. They certainly won’t be tricking people into paying full price for a fake computer.

    While Chinese customers don’t mind paying low prices for what they know to be fakes, they don’t take kindly to being ripped off with full-price fakes.

    It’s one thing to sell a tourist a vinyl “leather” wallet in a market, it’s another thing entirely to try ripping off locals. Can’t be sure about the accessories such as power packs etc. though.

    I say as long as they sell and service real apple stuff, why should Apple care? Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all extra product made on weekend production line runs.

    Seriously, what wouldn’t Foxconn do to add to their bottom line? They are building a factory in Chengdu, after all. Can’t get any employees though, so they’re cutting deals with government to get technical colleges in back-of-boondocks county towns to convince their students to start their careers at Foxconn.

  395. I was in Kunming last year, saw an Apple Store, walked in and showed my MacBookPro that needed to be fixed. They had no clue what to do with it… No wonder!

  396. This story is solid genius. I do like how they go to all the effort of faking this a lot better than most of us could, but then completely blow it by writing “Apple Store” on the front!

  397. Detective work nicely done! I live in Dubai and there is a Chinese mall named DragonMart where one can find literally anything. That includes, you guesses it, fake Apple products that are indistinguishable from the real ones, almost. Imagine a fully functional iPad 2 for $120 where you can download apps as well. They even upgrade a few features here and there! However, the downside is that there are no warranties, so one buys at his or her own risk and this has personally thrown me off. However, a few friends have made the purchase they seem to be quite happy with them. You have to hand it to the Chinese!

  398. I thought china is the heaven of fake LV, GUCCI, Prada.. etc…
    But man! They really prove us wrong!! They really prooooooooooved us damn f*****g wrong. They are so versatile that they can fake everything! Chinese from china, you should applause to yourself!

    • Uhm … personally i am not too comfortable with this comment. As a HK-Chinese i am not proud of this genius way of earning money. From a Chinese point of view, some Chinese are just dreaming of becoming rich as fast as possible as a way to compensate the old days of poverty. The sad thing is, i don’t trust any products that are sold in the Mainland China, even with the official declarations because they can be faked as well. Of course this cannot and should not be excused, but this is a lot more complicated than what you see on the surface.

  399. 500k visitors to this website in 48hours according to the BBC and you’re not advertising to it? could have paid for a lot of travelling… could still do – hit me up 🙂

  400. Bulls**t! Let’s Apple confirm this before you presume it does reach your standard? Every church is different in detail, but same religion. Does Kunming store rock your believe?

  401. I was in Kunming last month and saw these stores. I thought for sure I had finally found a real Apple store rather than the many resellers around. There is no lack of outlet for the Apple products in Kunming; these fake stores are a gimmick as it turns out but they sure fooled me. Of course, I checked the prices and they weren’t bargains.

  402. Well, why not. Apple take the lion’s share of all the profits that go with every iphone, ipad and Mac made. Despite them being made in China, the workers get paid peanuts, and worked to suicide levels. Yet Steve Jobs and the American government (through tax) gets all the benefits. Why?

    Furthermore, I am extremely sad to see China turn out the way it has. Americanisation/Westernisation on a huge scale – instead of expanding their own, home grown businesses into the big/global scene, they have allowed white stores from America, Britain and Euope to establish themselves en masse in China – McDonalds, KFC, Tesco, Marks and Spencers, CarreFour, Starbucks – where are the Chinese home grown, native stores? Answer – pushed by the wayside. In 50 years’ time, China will look like America – hell they will even speak Eng… American, celebrate Independence Day etc… so much for globalisation, when only one country benefits.

    • Apple takes advantage of the Chinese labor because the Chinese government allows it. Organize and campaign against your government for fair labor laws, safer working environments, and Apple won’t be able to make money of Chinese labor anymore. Apple is paying the employees to the standards of Chinese law. Don’t blame Apple, blame the Chinese government.

  403. These “stoers” have to be getting their computers from somewhere. If these are low quality copies made by back-engineering, then they will eventually hurt Apple’s reputation. If they are high quality copies made by stealing intellectual property, then they will eventually hurt Apple’s profits.

    China is a very rich country, with a very casual attitude toward intellectual property. Eventually this will lead to corruption, as companies take this matter into their own hands. If the government (of any country) wants to fight corruption, they have to stand up for the rights of inventors and investors.

    Apple is a rich company that charges a premium for their logo. But that does not make stealing from them OK. It is certainly less harmful than stealing from poor people, but it is still stealing.

  404. There are apple store looking resellers in US too. For example one on 45th near Univ. of Washington, and another at Redmond Town Center near Microsoft campus

  405. Thank goodness that it’s Foxconn and not Apple treating their employees slightly better than the average Chinese manufacturer. Now, if this article had been about Walmart…

  406. There are way more fake apple stores than three. And i saw more being fleshed out last week.

    Probably a booming business printing all the logo stuff right now.

    • Anyone who wants to visit Kunming and check these places out for themselves is 100% welcome! I’ll point you in the direction of the fake stores.

      Just don’t wield your camera too obviously – might get you in trouble. 🙂

      • You unwillingness to post the address of this store for verification shows that this is just an authorized store selling genuine Apple products.

      • That salesman also said products in the store are genuine Apple products sold at the same prices as those advertised on Apple’s website.

      • Just because they are real Apple products does not mean they were obtained in a legal manner. They could be stolen, or factory rejects. They are being dishonest to their customers by portraying themselves to be a legitimate Apple Store, and thus being part of Apple Inc. If someone were to buy a product from them, and it fails, they will not be able to get warranty support from that store. Authorized resellers obtain their items from the proper Apple Channels and all products will have full support. This store is not authorized, so you cannot have any faith in their products.

  407. I bet there are many more fake Apple stores trying to make a quick buck or two. Interestingly, the fake stores have, from my observation, been able to rake in money with a better ROI. I think Apple tracking them, filing case is somewhat dim.

  408. Having grown up in Hong Kong I know that there is a Chinese version of everything. The fact they would go to these lengths is hysterical. But are the units actually iPads or the aPads or ePads that you see proliferating eBay?

    At least a Microsoft rip off store would be less noticeable since their products are quite flawed to start with.

  409. This is terrible – It’s like the bad guy who owns the factory in a small town and has everyone by the nuts. And he’s got his kid running around terrizing the town folk and nobody is willing to stand up and do anything. Our unending need for incremental sales and profits will evenutally be our down fall as China ruins us…I mean absolutely ruins the US.

  410. The real apple store does not say “Apple Store”, so how is this store copying?

    Just stupid China-bashing here.

    This is just an authorized store selling genuine Apple products.

    • This store isn’t listed as an authorised reseller, as stated in the article. Read the post before commenting.

    • Sorry to sound condescending Bobby, but did you read the article at all??
      It clearly states that the three stores are not listed on the list of authorised stores as you incorrectly mentioned. The list of stores in the Kunming area can be found here.
      This is not a case of ‘stupid China-bashing’ as you have incorrectly stated, but in-fact proof of the blatant counterfeiting which gives the vast majority of genuine, law-abiding Chinese citizens a bad reputation.

      • Bobby, do you work there? That is the only way you would know for sure they are selling genuine Apple products. Even if they are, you cannot trust a store that blatantly lies to customer faces and pretends to be something it is not.

    • You need to open your eyes man. An employee from the store in question already came out and said it was a fake. See my previous posts. You are wrong.

  411. I totally believe this. I lived in Beijing for a year and I saw fakes of many different things. I actually saw a fake Volkswagon Jetta. My friends and I had to do a double take – but yes, indeed, it was fake. What gave it away was the spelling – “Jaett”. 🙂

    • A fake Jetta? Wow! I love the misspellings. It’s bizarre to me that people would go to that much trouble to imitate and yet still misspell. What was the funniest English t-shirt you saw?

      My favorite was the one my student in middle-of-nowhere Hunan wore to English corner one day that said, “You f***ing hate me because you f***ing love me.” She was the sweetest, most innocent girl. I asked her where she got that shirt, and she responded: “My mother bought it for me. She knows I like English.” Yikes! Reminds me of the days when Abercrombie had all those t-shirts with the Chinese characters…who knows what people were really wearing…

  412. HAHA, i live in Jiang Su near Xu Zhou, three months ago i found another fake Apple Store somewhere close to Wuhan/Hubei where i went for vacation ,BUT, it was funnier than your store because these guys were selling Nokia telephones and other brands too,and when i asked them (hey whats going on ) they simply replied me [ Mei Wen Ti ,Bu Yao Dang Xin ]
    meaning No problem and dont Worry ..
    they are funny, i love them all ,because they try hard and they think to copy is OK ?

  413. As one of the most recognized brands in the world, I can’t say that I’m surprised about these fake stores. Those photos show a pretty convincing, and impressive, attempt.

  414. Guys China will make a fake copy of yourself if you go around shopping for it… lol ….. interesting thing is that not only this is a copy of the product but this is a copy of the entire company…. lol…..

  415. Technically it’s not an Apple Store… it says right there, it’s an “Apple Stoer”

  416. This is a very common thing in China, Everything is copy or fake!
    Ha Ha! Apple stores is a small thing, Steve Jobs is lucky.
    That High-Speed railway is a big thing! it copy from where? Japan or Germany? Japanese and German must be cry out for this.

    • The Chinese paid a lot of money to buy the trains from Germany.
      Then the Chinese develop their own technology for their own trains. There was no need to copy. Just stupid china bashing again.

  417. Wow! I can’t say I’m surprised, but wow. I lived in China 3 years, and I saw many knockoffs, but to imitate an entire store?! Even that surprises me, and I saw a lot of things while living there (lived in rural Hunan, Hangzhou, and & Beijing).

    Do the people in Kunming actually think that Apple opened a store there, or are they in the dark also?

  418. Steve Jobs, or Tim Cook should fired their China CEO..

    caz they are NOT opening fast enough!!! China market demands it.. and Apple it’s not catching up…

  419. 1. Zhengyi Road, Kunming. Surprise, surprise. Not officially listed. So, next one?

    Your turn, gal.

  420. Yes, China has stolen everything of value from the world. Sell your bonds…haha…we are going to default…no problem, China has defaulted before on their obligations.

    I would not be so sure the African nation will take over manufacturing from anyone, with all the money in unilateral trade that China has amassed, they have bought the continent of Africa. They need the resources and the land to feed their billions of people.

  421. Apple’s been being ripped off for a long time. I mean think where Microsoft would be if they hadn’t ripped of Apple. Bill would probably be coding for IBM in some cubicle forest.

  422. As you’ve heard before many times, great scoop! It’s been amazing to see how far and wide this story has spread — literally around the world. Love the witty commentary in your post as well as the pictures! Apple Stoer FTW.

  423. What didn’t get mentioned is just how damn’ expensive apple (and every other) products are in china. It is cheaper to buy an ipad in america or singapore even though they are made in china. Even hong kong has buckled under it seems and now sells at china prices. I was just in kunming and hong kong and went from there to singapore and now shanghai. A pair of levis in shanghai costs $200 at a typical shopping center. How the hell do chinese people afford that? The top of the line ipad2 form the official apple store seems to be about $200 more than the same ipad in the US. I can’t fingure that one out.

  424. A group 16 of us from Seattle just got back from Kunming yesterday. While on our bus on route to Shangri-La, saw the store and it stuck in my mind of what is that ?
    Your posting is timing perfect for me to clarify what I saw is not illusion, but real.

  425. That’s why people in China always come to Hong Kong to buy iPhone, ipad… watches, cameras… dairy products, groceries…

  426. Great bit of reporting. I saw the LA Times article and sent it on to my Mac user group. Then a group member posted the link to your blog. Very interesting to hear about what’s happening in Kunming. I have studied Chinese history and found it fascinating to read of great changes occurring on a massive scale periodically throughout history. Now I shall follow your blog to learn of adventures in modern China. Mac folk lead the most interesting lives. Thanks much!
    Bruce in Los Angeles

    For those who might be interested in an online Mac user group that is very friendly, a real worldwide social group as well as tech info, check this out:

  427. You don’t have to go the China to see a “Fake” apple store. Go to the Bellevue Square Mall near the Microsoft Campus and visit the new flagship “Microsoft Store” Complete with hardwood floors and nice young salespeople in T-Shirts 🙂

  428. It seems like the author of this article is not willing to confirm if this particular is selling real Apple products or not.
    I guess the author is trying to portray this as a faked store selling faked products.
    A faked store selling genuine Apple products would be a bit less dramatic.

  429. It’s not an Apple Store, it’s an Apple Stoer (the window). Too typical of any other Chinese user manual to have the misspelling.

  430. I don’t see the point of this post. Everything in China is fake and everybody knows these stores are fake. The local people are not stupid

  431. Japan – Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Seiko, Panasonic, Toshiba, Canon, Fujifilm, Yamaha.

    Korea – LG, Hyundai, Samsung, KIA.

    China – Apple Stoer, Palsonic, Somy, Niky, Pume.

    Which Chinese company will be a leading force like those of Japan and Korea?

  432. Look these knock of stores litter China, I live in what China calls “a little” town and our 4th so called fake Apple store opened last week. To be honest, the photo’s of the Apple stores above are somewhat impressive in comparison to our shoe box size stores. This is not a recent trend. I have been here for a few years and gradually, yes, more have opened. However, A, Is this such a surprise to us all and B, does it really affect you.

    What some of you may not understand sitting at your computers hundreds and maybe thousands of miles away is these stores are actually selling genuine products and also use Apples main distribution centers and Apple’s contracted repair centers.

    There has been a lot of bad press recently regarding China’s stance towards pirated, copied and fake goods, however, China is making progress in these areas and becoming more in line with western policies. But is that such a good thing???

    We all look too our own countries and consider whether feeding these multi billion dollar/pound corporate monsters is such a good thing. Remember its only the people at the top who are getting more stock options and salary increases.

    These stores don’t make a massive profit margin on each item, the pay wage to staff which would make most you cry, $120 a month. Rent for the shop and then more stock.

    These stores tend to shut as fast as they open. The overheads and profit margins are minimal. Basically they are only earning enough to cover costs and keep people in employment.

    And is keeping people in employment such a bad thing. Regardless of copyright or counterfeit goods. Everyone would beg steal or borrow to keep their own families housed and feed.

  433. Steve Jobs can’t hear you. He is busy sleeping on his big pile of money while listening to the finest champagne fall down a gold ingot waterfall.

  434. Great work! Look forward to any follow-up on this story.

    Apple sells its’ products through its’ own website along with owned & operated brick & mortar stores (only found in 10 countries plus the US). In other countries you can buy from an authorized Apple reseller, or ostensibly, an un-authorized reseller. Of the “un-authorized” resellers many sell actual Apple product but others sell fake/bootleg Apple product. (You can find electronics stores in NYC that sell fake iPhones.)

    The Apple brand is severely damaged when a fake Apple product is bought – it becomes a waste of the customers $ to buy something under false pretense – further, this fake product has no warranty, is not covered by Apple Care, and will probably not work for very long. Apple loses a customer because of the failure of the perceived product.

    What difference does it make if a product is “cheaper” if it doesn’t work like it should or have the support of the manufacturer?

    When iPad was released in the US, there were huge numbers of people buying who were allegedly reselling to China. They were purchased at full-retail and had to be marked up to monstrous levels. Un-authorized resellers either sell bootleg product, stolen product, or product bought at retail and marked up for profit. I don’t believe that Apple allows their legitimate distribution chain to be breached so easily and frequently.

  435. Hi there,

    interesting articles, but I am not sure the technical details are correct. I checked website, there are 2 types of “places” you could buy official Apple authorized products, either via the official Apple Stores “苹果零售店” and indeed there are only 4 of those in China (Beijing & Shanghai as noted). However there are many other listed as Apple authorized reseller “苹果经销商”. And if you check the list for the 2nd category, there are 7 of those in Kunming. The staffs there are probably not hired by Apple, but it doesn’t necessary mean that the products sold there are not authentic/legally imported. Since the address of the store pictured is not included in the article, I could not judge whether it is one of those resellers.

    • One of the employees of the store in this blog already confirmed the store was a fake and not an authorized reseller. See the links at the top of the page.

  436. As a Chinese citizen who’s spent a large portion of his life abroad, there is one thing about the Western culture/attitude, and those who uphold it, that I find really disturbing: it’s the opinionated self-righteousness. I’m not here to debate the morality of intellectual property rights violations or to defend piracy of any kind. However, please understand this is the reality of life in China. I’m sure with the Author’s extensive experience in China, especially in Kunming, she must have seen the side of society that isn’t shown in pretty tourist attraction posters. For those who didn’t have the fortunate fate of being born with money, shouldn’t they be allowed to make a living doing whatever they can? (as long as they don’t rob, steal, or hurt other people). Yeah, most of the profits from these kind of schemes are probably going to some shyster whose only goal is to make himself rich but at least he/she is creating jobs. For those staff employed in these stores: isn’t having a job better than being unemployed and starving? Would working in a sweat factory like FoxConn producing GENUINE Apple parts be better than working in an air-conditioned FAKE Apple store? Maybe to satisfy your Western sense of “morality” it is, but from my point of view, and millions of poor Chinese people, the answer would be: “whichever makes me the most money”…

    I’m not criticizing the author personally in any way, but rather would like to point out the view that a lot of Westerners who come from a life of, comparatively, comfort and safety have; who, because of their birthright, don’t have to worry about things like food, shelter, safety, employment; who, if I were to place you on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, would be a lot higher than most of the population in developed countries.

    China is my homeland.. I love it but I recognize that it is a very flawed country with a very flawed government. However, it is NOT your place to judge or criticized us. Back when the economy was state controlled, the Western world bitched about the “evils of Communism and Socialism”…then we opened the markets, and what you see today is the pure effects of supply and demand in a market economy, yet you still complain?

    As the saying goes: Don’t come to me with Problems, come to me with Solutions. And if you don’t have any, kindly F&*$ off..

    • 110% with you ChinaMan.
      In addition, let me say that in any country where there exist lost of people that lives in very low conditions there is no place for things like Intellectual Property Right. There´s only place for honest and not so honest people trying to make a decent living in any way they can, to feed their families and maybe if they´re lucky enough, give a good education to their kids.

    • The problems the Chinese people are dealing with right now are almost the same problems the US and other nations were dealing with in the 1900’s. Back when the labor laws were almost non existent and companies would take advantage of the poor people needing jobs.

      Here are some solutions:

      Poor people in China organize and form unions, demand better working conditions, safer working environments, higher wages, and fair labor laws from the government. The Government then enforces those laws and shuts down the sweatshop factories that abuse the Chinese workers if they do not comply.

      As for the counterfeiting, Demand that your Government enact stricter laws regarding Intellectual Property rights that are in line with other industrialized nations, and the Government enforces those laws.

  437. Good article! My wife lives in Kunming and she was about to go to one of these stores to buy some apple products. I think the one in wangfujing is a premium reseller though so I shall tell her to avoid these stores and go to Xinya.

  438. I am so surprised to see Birdabroad still have so much doubt about China, even after she or he has been living in Kunming.

    These shops selling Apple products are seemingly unauthorized sellers. They are just shops selling iPhones,iPads and iPods ect, and they don’t tell people they are authorized, but they are just selling.

    And to tell you the truth, they are selling real Apple products, and getting suppies from authorized or illegal means.

    Anyway, they are selling genuine things. So, why Apple bothers to take legal actions against these people? They are acturally helping to boost Apple’s sale revenue, not hurting them.

    You can choose not to buy their products, and nobody forces you to buy if you think they are faked. Right?

    As for the IPR issue, since they are selling genuine products, are you suggesting Apple sue them because they use the icon wrongly? As said, why Apple bother to do that?

  439. Haha – you think a couple of stores in Kunming is an issue? LOLZ – So i go into one of the main Carrefour (french walmart) branches in downtown Beijing, and venture up to the electronics floor and sure enough there is a large glass kiosk with loads of “iPads” and “iPhones” and that famous Apple sign proudly displayed on a flimsy cardboard cutout… Not only that, but guess what, did you know that Apple came out with a 3-D iPad? Sweet!

    Forces behind the scenes in China could care less (that is a given), but the question then is, I wonder how Mr. Jobs would see his tech stuff being illegally copied and sold in a French-owned mall ? ? A bit more interesting. . .

    Either way, in this city, if you look around on a crowded Subway ride and see a Chinese who isn’t playing Angry Birds on his/her iPhone or iPad, that is unusual. So… I don’t know… but when I see a friggin migrant worker strumming through his playlist, on a phone that is valued at about 3 or 4 months salary for him, I find it funny.

    Get real, no one buys “real” in this country

  440. Just want to say I’m a Peace Corps volunteer and went to Kunming for language training. I saw one of these Apple stores very close to my youth hostel. I thought it was legit, and played around with the iPads. Having lived in China for a year, I’m surprised – not that it’s fake, but that it fooled me into think it was real. They did a pretty good job.

  441. The thing is, if they can copy Apple Stores, what can they not copy? I’ve heard stories of large international truck companies having their products ripped off and sold to a fraction of the price.

    The west is largely built upon intellectual property rights.
    I understand that China is a big market, but who wants to do business (besides huge international firms) in China when complete rip-off is a price you might have to pay?

  442. The writer of this article dared not confirm if this store is selling faked or genuine Apple products.

    Why is it so hard to answer if this store is selling genuine Apple products?

    Perhaps, a faked store selling genuine Apple products would make this blog less sensational.

  443. I went to China in 1979 with the Merchant Marine, I remember guards allocated to us for whatever reason looking all over a fridge, at least one of them had never actually seen one before, and they laughed when they saw potato’s!
    My brother has been many times since, he says it’s a modern country now, I’m not so sure about that being the case everywhere.
    Old things have returned with the relaxation of communist doctrine, perhaps the devastating effects of so many people wanting to impress others with Shark Fin soup is among the worst of all?

  444. Counterfeiting is counterfeiting, whether drywall (containing dangerous sulfuric substances that corrode wiring and pipes) name brand silk trousers (that fall apart after 1/2 of a wearing) or critical aviation replacement parts including turbine blades and aileron actuators, nav computers, even phony first growth Bordeaux wines with laser etched “authentication”, and so forth. The totalitarianism of the People’s Republic openly ignores this behavior ostensibly because there is an eager bargain-hunting consumer market in the western economies. No exports leave China without a dominant commercial premise.

    There will be no crackdown on the phony Apple store nor the fake or defective merchandise; it is apparently a thriving business in China, as are all of the rip-off merchandisers. And it is not a surprise that the superficial aesthetics look convincingly “real” Apple, right through to the employees. But is this really any more a theft of intellectual property than the obvious but defective Samsung copies of Apple products? That is a thorny affair as Apple uses Samsung as a mainstream component supplier. And as Apple seeks to command market share in China, the delicate balance of obtaining access to a gigantic market is tempered by the Chinese tolerance of widespread counterfeiting — almost a mark of national pride — and their abiding reluctance to grant repatriation of revenues to American and European businesses.

    No, the Chinese authorities will not intervene, not unless massive loss of life inside China is the result of such larceny, as with the collapsed schools with fake rebar, or crashed airliners with counterfeit engine parts or infant milk poisoned with melamine. When Chinese citizenry are directly affected, the authorities sometimes will act, but there will be no comeuppance for faking Apple. The effect both inside and outside China will be to damage the brand that Apple has so meticulously designed and maintained.

    With the Chinese central bank holding over 25% of US Treasury debt and buying more daily, they have us over a barrel and individual counterfeiting entrepreneurs are lavishing in their advantageous leveraged position. The one possible benefit is that fake Apple Mac Pro servers will not be as useful for hacking into our defense networks, for that they need reliable equipment.

  445. Please read the comment of ChinaMan, it´s a good dose of reality and I completely agree with him.
    Don´t take for granted what you have and let other people make a decent living as well.
    And have in mind that the wealth of most Americans comes from the misery of many poor countries around the world.
    PS: If I were you, I´d move out of town.

  446. I’m surprised that the security guards would have been happy to allow an Apple employee to take photos. Unless they were also under the belief that it was a genuine Apple store that was employing their services. There again the signwriter was probably surprised that his apprentices handywork on the front sign never got picked up on either!
    Keep up the good work, it sure is a strange place!

  447. Haha. I’m visiting China on business, just till this Wednesday. I saw this report from my hotel only last night on Asia CNN. This morning as I was being driven to an appointment in Guangdong. Then all the sudden we drove past 2 “Apple” Stores. They look great from the outside. Now these ones don’t say Apple Store. They just have the iconic apple. Hmm tricky. Looking at the official retail list, there are none in this province. So I found 2 more this way. How many now are spotted so far??

  448. This follows the Shanzhai trend found in China, where there are often copies of popular western products made cheaper. It is a culture of peasant innovation (not to call the Chinese peasants, but to imply that not much money is spent on research and development, but products are made to the demands of the consumer).

    There would not be as much of a market for it (1 in every 5 mobile phones in the world is a “Shanzhai” rip-off) if Apple had its stores there. People would quite happily buy the real thing if it was available to them. Like the Chinese kid who sold a kidney to buy an iPad and a Macbook.

    So before you write these people off as rip-off merchants and cheats, just remember that all they’re trying to do is buy the same stuff we’ve all been advertised.

  449. I don’t care it. I don’t like how Apple speculate with their devices. Linux and Windows are working with all kind of hardware. It’s so easy to make an own OS with own hardware… Apple is the new Silicon Valley bubble.

  450. well i guess , apple exploits cheap Chinese labor in appalling conditions ( case in point ; deaths at the shenzhen factory search it up) , so i guess this is the Chinese way of saying…thank you come again…lol

  451. You must have tons of views. This just went beyond Freshly Press, which is impressive by itself, into a viral post in the web. I just hope everybody using your story would mention your blog and post as a courtesy, but I have found they don’t. I have commented in all of them they should give you the credit and link to your post and added the link. Congratulation on a world wide hot news.

  452. That’s when you bring knowhow to China and let produce your products overthere! They start selling your products in China and with the money you brought them, China buys the companies in Europe and USA anyway, or loan countries more than the World Bank to save their need for raw materials

  453. I don’t believe. It’s an amazing post! I link your blog to my facebook. Thank you very much, from Barcelona, Spain.

  454. To the guy that used to live in Kunming in 1986, I’m assuming you were like the only foreigner living in Kunming and the whole province of Yunnan back then. Even now, only about 10 foreigners live in the whole city (or so it seems); I don’t understand why so few foreigners travel or live there…it’s creepy compared to the much more cosmopolitan Asian cities in neighboring countries, because Kunming is actually a very nice city to visit.

    • There are no fake apple stores in Costa Rica. There are two official distributors, iCon, and iOne. While their ‘look’ is really similar to Apple Stores, they don’t advertise as “Apple Store’. They both have signage with their respective names on the stores, and “authorized distributor” per Apple regulations.

      Take a look at the downtown store you are referring to:

  455. Chinaman, your comments don’t make any sense. The fact is that not obeying intellectual property rights is STEALING. You should know better given you apparently live in the west (btw your English skills are excellent, I have to commend you on that fact).

    However, the fact is that stealing intellectual property rights is tantamount to the same kind of behavior (theft of some goods from a store, for example) that you are saying these people are not engaging in. If the store were simply a retailer selling real Apple products then I don’t see a big problem (even if it’s not an actual Apple store), but it’s already a joke that they can’t even spell. The storefront contains the word “stoer” instead of the “store” written everywhere else. Are the people who put up that sign either dyslexic or just incredibly stupid? I’d say probably a combination of both. Also, please don’t come to me and tell me that English is a foreign language for these people. First of all, English is much, much easier than Chinese to write, and secondly, how hard is it to get a dictionary (and actually use it) or someone to proofread? Come on…

    On another point, there is no air-conditioning in Kunming. Nobody has it because it never gets really hot there.

  456. Well, they are actually not pirates, just went around Mr. Jobs 🙂
    Phones probably coming directly from the official and legal Apple factory near.

  457. The Chinese government proves once again that they sh** on Western companies when it comes to piracy enforcement.

    The solution, more companies from the west opening more stores.

    Got to love how the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank like a bunch of silly capitalists!

    Can’t wait to hear your next blog from chinese prison!

  458. Great post! And to “ChinaMan”, get a clue! Protecting intellectual property is the bedrock entrepreneurs depend on to innovate, take risks, and make profits. I’m a Chinese American who lived in China from ’93-’98 and started my own publishing company there. Piracy was widespread and rampant. The government turned a blind eye to piracy and it obviously hasn’t changed much since then. By not enforcing intellectual property rights, the Chinese government has killed it’s domestic brands. I can only think of one or two international Chinese “household” brand-names (Qing Dao Beer and Lenovo). It’s pretty sad considering China’s position as the world’s 2nd biggest economy. When will the Chinese wake-up, stand-up and irradiate their self-created environment of fraud and piracy? Or maybe I’ve got it wrong and YOU are complicit in allowing OUR people to only be the world’s biggest supplier of oompa loompas.

  459. To Chinaman. I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m of Korean heritage and we’ve had our own share of problems. 🙂

    So here’s one possible solution. Instead of opening up a FAKE Apple Store with AC, how about opening up a legitimate Apple Reseller in Kunming and creating jobs without ripping anyone off. Just because Apple is rich and Steve Jobs is rich doesn’t mean it is right for someone to steal from his pocket. Even if he won’t notice it.

    There are legitimate ways of providing jobs and spreading the wealth and a lot of Chinese businesses are doing just that. It’s just a pity a few bad apples like this fake “stoer” gives the rest a bad name.

    • The fact that the only thing they avoided is the import tax on the product. Smugglers pay people to queue in Apple Store in New York to get products, i.e. they paid a retailed price for those products. Because the demand is high, they can still make fat profit. There were news about when Apple Store opened in Beijing, smugglers try to get all the products so that they can still sell their stock at premium price. Of course, now they mainly smuggle from HONGKONG. But when IPad3 comes out, there will be hundreds if not thouthsands will come from US to China and sell for profits.

  460. When you said there was a fake Apple store in Kunming, I was imagining a big, fake flagship store, which would be shocking/amazing to see. However, when I scrolled through your pictures, I realised that I had seen stores like those before.

    What is the difference between a store that has been decorated to look like an Apple store and a fake Apple store? I only ask because I’ve seen two in Nanjing and one in Shanghai. The next time I am in town, I’m going to have to look and see whether they have the words, “reseller” or just an Apple logo.

    One thing that is interesting… When I first came to Nanjing there was only one Apple reseller, in Xinjiekou. Then Nanjing International School, the biggest international school in Nanjing, became a one-to-one Apple laptop school and Apple exploded in Nanjing. The last time I went to “computer street,” I popped into an electronics mall and saw there were equal numbers of Apple sellers:PC sellers. Now when you are in town, or even on the subway, you can see iPads, iPods, iPhones, and Macbooks everywhere. There is now even an official (?) Apple warranty center.

  461. this is an interesting phenomenon, but i don’t see the drama here. it sounds like a car dealership. not owned by the car company, but with the name brand plastered all over everything. the sign says apple store. that’s what it is.

    the fact that the employees think they work for apple an amusing side note.

  462. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery but this is going a bit too far. Chinese authorities will be under lot of pressure with this post being covered in so many global news channels.

  463. Steve Jobs doesn’t want to protect the intellectual property rights of others so maybe it’s time for a taste of his own medicine – F’em!

  464. As long as the store looks good and for sure that store looks great and they are selling genuine product, who cares?
    What’s the difference between Futureshop or Best Buy (in Canada) selling the products or these stores? Sure one is authorized by Apple and the other is not…but that’s China and they think one should simply be allowed to open a store and sell, what’s so wrong with that, isn’t that pure capitalism?

  465. I live in Bangu Province. Last week I saw a fake Fredrick’s of Hollywood. I know cus our store’s got crampons.

  466. I was walking through this town in California, Cupertino or something, it had a fake Apple Stoer

  467. Hi Jessica, an spanish neocon news site use your photo without Mentioning your blog for speak about the great Chinese market opportunities Chinese market opportunities

  468. While I could go on and on about the karma aspect of this issue, I won’t.

    What I am amazed at is how sloppy the counterfeiters are at their craft. I dont know about all you folks, but if my aim was to copy a brick and mortar, I would make sure I had my signs and all swag be absolutely identical to the real thing. In years past, that may have been a tall order in China, but not these days.

    Their sloppiness reminds me of poor spam content. At least make the phishing attempt a passable replica of the real thing.

  469. Agree with Michael – this is all kind of funny, as long as the actual products are real – especially if the stores are authorized resellers. We bought a Mac Mini in the fake Apple Store off Youhao Sq. in Dalian. The staff was very professional, knowledgeable, and attentive. The computer IS authentic, was priced “normally”, and has worked and updated flawlessly.

    There’s a lot much worse going on in China (re: IPR and other product counterfeiting) than store owners mimicking Apple’s interior design. The worldwide uproar over this report shows how little the outside knows China.

  470. Apple has been overcharging for its products and it’s only a befitting response to it. I purchased an iPhone 3GS just last week in India. Offcourse it was ‘made in china’. Wonder if it is original or not!

    This is a classical case studies for organizations wishing to setting up manufacturing outlets in the world’s most counterfeit economy!

  471. People, how many of you have not downloaded a movie or a song for free before? Using, p2p softwares, torrents, etc etc…
    Who fights for these rights? nobody, why are we concerning about a rip-off of a company that earns billions of dollars a year and copies of their products wouldn’t do as much harm as to a singer, writer, or movie director.
    Lets stop judging people and start letting them to make a living in which ever way they can, as long as they don’t harm physically or psychologically nobody.
    Copyright is tricky, just because you had an idea you can become a millionaire and everyone else just.. f**k off? die of hunger for not being so smart?
    I’m not a communist but this is one of the reasons of why the rich people in the world don’t even make it to the 1% of the worlds population and the rest just try to make a decent living.
    So… believe me that if i ever have the opportunity to make money with someone else’s idea, i won’t let it pass.

  472. And who cares about that? The people who buy apple’s products in USA & Europe, and don’t care about the Chinese workers who are beaten sometimes to death in iPhone factories for a missing piece, for $50 a month?
    A great part of apple’s production relies on cheap Chinese work force so that they can keep a big profit.
    Isn’t funny that a Chinese worker has to pay his two years wage on a Apple product he works on to fabricate?
    Actually Chinese people believe that Apple is a genuine Chinese brand, and the US companies are copying their products.
    I read somewhere that the Chinese version of iPhone 4 got dual sim, replaceable battery, and external card slot. So actually it was better than the original, and maybe cheaper.
    Go China! but don’t immigrate here

  473. Your explaination makes a lot sense. The guy lost his license, and continue to operate like a Apple store and sells smuggles products from Abroad. That explains why he spent all those money on decoration at the first place. About jacking up the price, that’s how ipad and iphone bought in US or HONGKONG in retailers and still be sold in China for a profit. The demand is so high that people actually paying premium for the product. Not mentioning Apple IP, they broke Chinese laws for smuggling products into China.

  474. Animus towards Apple is no reason to stick up for these guys. They are basically shysters preying on others, including Apple and members of the paying public. One is tempted, of course, to say that Apple itself is a massive ripoff with a slick machine for generating massive profits. But if these guys had their way, there would be no Apple. No nothing at all really. Just a continuing downward spiral towards the cheap and nasty. If Apple didn’t exist they would just be sucking blood under some other guise.

  475. I saw a fake Apple Store at the Accra Mall in Accra, Ghana, last week. I didn’t think twice about it until I saw this story, and checked Apple’s site to see that it doesn’t have any stores in Ghana.

  476. Thank God for these stores. Just over a year back I had trouble finding an adaptor for the iPhone in Shanghai. There was no Apple Store, not even a fake one.

    Either Apple sets up the stores fast or some one is going to meet the consumer demand. The idea of intellectual property “rights” is not to deny the product even to the genuine customer.

    Apple needs to grow up!

  477. LOL, a fake Apple Store sells real Apple products. Apple’s business development team should wake up now. In 2010, Yum! Brands, Inc opened more than 500 new restaurants in mainland China. It’s time for Apple to learn from KFC.

  478. As an owner of Mac products for more than two decades, I feel that if the products are real, new (and cheaper) than at a ‘real’ Apple store, and the public knows it’s not an authorized store, I have no problem with this. Apple is way overpriced, more so for the population that actually manufactures their products.

    The way I see it, these fake stores are just like any retailer, only a more dressed-up shop, in keeping with the theme of Apple.

    What amazes me, or not, really, is the fact that such a story can attract a million people’s attention in a day or two, It illustrates the obsession with electronic gadgetry we’ve all succumbed to. Computers and the technology surrounding them have completely taken over our lives. Anybody else notice this, or even care?

    What has become of us?

    • If you really believe that the products being sold at these stores are real, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. This story is not so much about our obsession with gadgets as much as it is about our obsession with gaining wealth by any means possible – even if this means taking advantage of people in your own neighborhood or city. If you feel that it’s fair to sell inferior goods for approximately the same price being charged for the real products (and yes, the people hawking these fakes sell them for about the same price as the real thing), when you will get about 1/2 the usage out them as compared to the real product before they break, then I don’t know what to tell you. The Chinese will love your gullible nature. Just be sure to bring a lot of money if ever you visit. With your naivete, you’re going to need it.

      • These people are selling to the Chinese in China. So, they are the best judges of the products coming out of these shops. We can argue about the fakery about these products, but what has made the stores last so far? Don’t you think their products are at least up to a certain benchmark? Do you think the Chinese people would just pay up a huge sum of money (for them) to buy a product which goes bad in a few days? Do you think no body in China has ever used a Apple product before to know what kind of quality he or she can expect from an Apple product?

        Nevertheless, an average Chinese consumer, willing to spend a considerable sum, is more brand and quality conscious than me or you think (I’ve lived in China for a while).

  479. After I read about your blog, I went to the store you mentioned in Kunming.
    That is really amazing…, they do sell the real iPhone, iPad and Mac. In China, you can only say, er…the store is fake, the products is real.

  480. Hi,

    The shop might not a “FAKE APPLE STORE”, but I believe they are just not an authorised apple shop. The product they are selling still a genuine apple products (is not a fake macbook).

  481. Borraste mi comentario porque no te favorece. Solamente te gustan los que le echan mas gasolina a la candela y que atraiga mas visitantes a tu blog. Hipocresía y cinismo en esta blogger.
    You deleted my comment because it helps you. Just like that you throw more gasoline on the fire and attract more visitors to your blog. Hypocrisy and cynicism in this blogger. Opportunist.
    Vous avez supprimé mon commentaire, car il vous aide. Juste comme ça vous jetez plus d’essence sur le feu et attirer plus de visiteurs sur votre blog. L’hypocrisie et le cynisme de ce blogueur. Opportuniste.

  482. Wow – just seen an article about this blog post in our local South African Sunday paper – talk about making a world-wide splash!

    Great sleuthing, but I can’t help admire the gumption of constructing an ENTIRE counterfeit store. I mean, why stop at flea-markets and the back of a truck? 🙂

  483. well, in a place where i commonly hear my local associates wonder if even the McDonald’s down the street is real… where buying shampoo may or may not have you break out in a rash… where they copy engine prts and make knockoff’s, not good ones, just slapdash knockoffs and ut them in the high speed trains… (search chinese train crash)

    a fake store is no big deal…

    it’s like a hydra, cut off one head, 3 more will spring up.

    the employees, stating that it doesn’t matter, so long as the products are real really echo the general feeling of the public here.

    and, the store copying the look of a real apple store? OF COURSE. The idea of copying the look of something is considered on the norm here. try to look at it in a different way. folks associate certain products with a certain look. and within a communist country, where not so long ago everything was boxed to look the same, even the people (grey commie clothes anyone? short cropped bobs on the girls,,,,)

    When Burger King opened,,, YongHe King opened KING/KING one sells burgers, one, noodles, both are cheap fast food places, and King is already associated with fast food, so… (In N Out anybody?) JACK HUT Tea shop, (Pizza Hut is huge here, so use the word HUT) ICE STORM (complete with mountain Dew-esque logo)

    Hell, even the toothpaste dude from the Expo was ripped off from a Chinese refrigeration company…

    I’ve talked to some of my local associates here, and they really don’t get why the store is a fake, when the products are real…

    unfortunately, we’re dealing with a different frame of mind. and one that’s not so necessarily devious. when it comes to intellectual property

    i’d worry more baout the shoddy workmanship

  484. I am a Chinese from Wuhan, a second tier city in middle of China. We have many so called “fake stores” here. However, as long as they sell real apple products, they do good for local consumers. Also they pay tax to government as well. They do help Apple to increase brand awareness. So good job for those creative Chinese people.

    Apple actually wins from this. No need to set up apple stores everywhere in China, considering it has more than 4000 counties and 400 cities.

    NEVER DO BUSINESS IN A 100% WESTERN WAY IN CHINA. It is just another business world. But once you understand more about the market, there will be more chances and fun.

  485. So weird what’s happening with Angry Birds and other programs/apps too apparently. Most will ask, What’s a patent troll? Not heard of them before myself but when people are scared of creating technological advances because they stand to get sued by patent trolls and that wipes out the value of any innovations they’ve made then the law has gone too far and needs to be reviewed. This is another area where it’s actually against the communal interest not having free legal aid available.

  486. Nice article, but a little bit naive!
    If you think that Apple is bothered or concerned about the fake Apple stores, you’re wrong!
    Without opening stores themselves and without any costs, they are selling many, many additional Mac’s, iPad’s and iPhone’s. (the procucts sold in those stores are genuine Apple products!)
    Why is it that Apple does not take any legal steps agains those stores? Now you know!

  487. Always interesting to see how much anti-Chinese rhetoric comes out in discussions like this. For the record China’s pretty good at closing down fools who appropriate IP like this – because it’s very hard for them to run away when the lawyers show up. Now Apple know, they’ll be gone soon.

    For proof of this watch the first day of any major trade fair or public sales fair in China, the lawyers descend like locusts and half the stands are black bagged by 10 a.m.

  488. I agree with the above comment by Richard Wang. Who in their right minds would travel all the way from a small province in China to Beijing or Shanghai just to buy a apple product? If I can get the actual product from a fake shop in the neighborhood, so be it! I’m assuming these shops do sell the actual Apple stuff or else they might have been shut down long back anyway. Buyers in China are more picky than their western counterparts and the cost of Apple products is not all that cheap for them.

    The only issue I see here is that these shops don’t pay royalties to Almighty Steve. Which, in my opinion, is the best part of this story! :-))

  489. no industry, no IT companies, no creativity…
    no brains…
    China & India just grow up buy pirating western brands,
    conterfiet products;even copying western technologies, manufactures, & sciences.

    Helped by underpaid workers & salaries.

    This will end up bad for one or another side…

  490. So it turns out this shop was not fake after all. It turns out to have been perfectly legit business?

  491. Yeah right, we lived in Changsha, Hunan, and never knew which Sporting-goods-, DVD-, Clothes-, etc. – Store was a fake and which not, let alone the selled goods…
    Loved your article – it is sooooo true!

    And @Richard Wang, it is not true, that Apple wins from this – they always loose, as you can read from the article, the job was done badly and the reputation from apple ruined. I think, it is just bad behavior to fake someones original and get a profit out of it!

  492. I live in China, been here for 10yrs and I don’t see why you can’t publish their address. Making it sound more dramatic than it should eh?

  493. You have put a lot of people who were selling real products (in China…..) out of a job and done a great dis-service to all of us who want to buy the real apple product without having to travel all the way to Shanghai or Beijing. To put it in your own American context: for most of us, it’d be the equivalent of travelling to NYC to buy an iphone when you live in Oregon! Thanks very much for your courtesy to expose those who sell the real thing.

  494. Another example of China’s Achilles heel – supply chain integrity. Fake apple stores, tainted pork, ink in noodles, melamine in milk, zinc substitution in plumbing fittings leading to failure, lead in paint, rebar removed from school buildings, corrupt officials…. Chinese people should be as enraged as anybody over this issue. It is a symptom of a more serious problem – Chinese children are being sickened and killed from the results of a misconceived notion that deception is a form of good business. Seems like IP protection / integrity means a safer life. Chinese people deserve that better life.

  495. To those who say that as long as the products are genuine, “who cares if the store is fake”, I’d say that when I (and probably most people) go into a branded store there are some expectations, not just for the product to be the real deal, but also in regards to service. In those fake Apple Stores, the aftersales services might actually be equal to any shop in the Apple Store network, but there’s no way to tell in advance since it’s a fake. The store has been made to look that way with the express intention to dupe the customer. If the store really offers great products and services, why not use it’s own look (and show the “great creativity” of the local people)?

    Just because I can brew delicious coffee it doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to put up a fake Starbuck, does it?

  496. Well-written, well-formed, nicely photograph-laden post. You’re now famous!

    I’m sure it must bother the zillionaires in Cupertino to have some industrious Chinois mocking, or mocking-up their diorama in Province nowhere… But I remain sympathetic with the local Chinese thinkers and re-tinkers, who had the wise idea to profit off of what they actually do build.

    Let’s not miss reality for a grand stand on “IPR.” China builds and owns America, and all we consume here. If we want to complain about it, then the “Infinite Loop” company should consider paying North Americans to build their fantastic (and fantastically expensive) kit.

  497. Hmm… exploited Chinese workers make “real” Apple products in China… exploited Chinese workers make “fake” Apple products in China…
    I’m confused, why are we upset about the second scenario? Do we really care more about a multinational brand than worker’s rights? Sad. Boycott Apple.

  498. It’s amazing what China can get away with. I thought China was supposed to be a country that came up with creative ideas, not rip them off? Great story, BTW. Amazing how you were able to spot the difference, I don’t think I would have thought twice, lol.

  499. I dont know why this has become such a “headline” everywhere. There are so many “fake” stores and copied other things and its been so for ages. Why is it suddenly a news only because its Apple?

  500. This is definitely not new. In fact, making counterfeit products and copying are the two things the Chinese are good at and have been doing for many many years. Only now the so-called global market has opened the floodgate for these Chinese to dump on the market with their junks AND they get real rich as a result.

    So, it looks like the West buy junks and fake stuff from the Chinese and they turn around and the West’s money to buy the real and good stuff from the West. No wonder there are so many Chinese living well in California and else where in America!

  501. Loved your article – it is sooooo true!

    And @Richard Wang, it is not true, that Apple wins from this – they always loose, as you can read from the article, the job was done badly and the reputation from apple ruined. I think, it is just bad behavior to fake someones original and get a profit out of it!

  502. Thank you for sharing this story, it will remind every shopper to exercise due diligence especially when shopping abroad, not only for Apple products but with any other brands. Taking a minute to check out the official website and view the list of authorized shops can save a lot of tears.

    I’ve also shared this story to our community.

  503. Good articles about the rip off stores, isn’t it time you set up ads on your blog to earn a decent income from the influx of traffic :)….Just my little 2 cents.

  504. half of the commenters didnt even read the article, such idiots!

    To the person saying Apple handed jobs to China, the jobs were never in the USA in the first place. Tech factories have been in asia for a long time. Foxconn makes nearly all of the iPads and iPods in the world between Zhengzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen. It’s real s****y conditions, but they have to help pad Apple’s cash that they are sitting on. I really hope Apple starts to step it up with this s**t. Foxconn has the worst reputation in China, but people are desperate for jobs, it’s very sad

  505. Hi,

    I saw a store in Nanshan province in Shenzhen – in one of the malls. I suspect that it is also fake….will be visiting there next month. Will take pics and update all on the same. Thanks for the wonderful article, and bringing this across to us.

    Your next article should be the fake brand name apparel, accessories and beauty products in China that are selling like hot cakes.

  506. at least did you get any money from apple?, apple will just ignore who you are, and still be manufacturing that mind-blowing hipnotizing product for the masses

  507. Wake up do gooders Why only China try most of South East Asia which is Commercial central of the would Copying is nothing new here and sometime the copies are better that the original and at a far far better price and you can bargain too.

  508. Hey Birdabroad. I’ve got a curious question I was hoping you could answer. Do you have any idea of how this story went from your blog to the mainstream media? Was it picked up by the twittersphere or did it find it’s way through some other way? (I first saw it on Zite)


    • We’re not clear on what happened either 🙂 My husband and I put the link on our Facebook and Google+ pages, went to bed, and the story was already moving when we got up the next morning. Looks like it got to people on Twitter who have lots of followers, then got picked up by some Apple-focused blogs, and from there into the mainstream media.

      • Thanks. The internet sure is an amazing thing…one minute you’re blogging the next BBC are reporting the closure of the stores.

  509. What happened was that I posted it on Google Plus and I have a guy called Benjamin Cohen following me there. He works for Channel 4 news in the UK. He was the first person to run the story and from there it just went viral to many other news people! Jessica if you check the times you will see that my posting was the first 😉

  510. If they are selling Apple genuine products it is effectively an Apple Store, Ok, it might not be owned by Apple Corp (NYSE:APPL) but said they have the sole right to decorate a retail store> I this IP issue is now across window shopping? that is nonsense. They can decorate their store any way they want.

  511. Why do people think this is funny? This is a point-blank and blatant copyrigt or at the very least a “trademark” infridgement, attempting to profit through fraudulent acts… These PEOPLE have quite a nerve doing this… Apple have taken such great lenghts to esablish a brand even in their stores, and such unimaginative fraud activities should not be condone…no matter what their NATIONALITY is.

  512. Did you get any reward from Steve Jobs?
    You deserve it,they have a department just to find out counterfeit stuff.
    We shoul all sign a petition to help get a present from Apple
    Good luck