Last month in China there was a store found, but not just any store. A fake Apple store, that’s right, apparently Apple hasn’t conquered the world yet. All my Apple hating aside, it seems these stores have begun to spread across china like wild fires selling Apple products. Now if any of you have been inside of an Apple store (I haven’t) their typically laid out in a certain pattern showcasing the best products they have to offer, and the employees are dressed a certain way as well. These stores in china managed to duplicate everything you would see in an official Apple store down to the carpeting. They even managed to hire young Chinese men and women to work for them, making them believe they were working for the actual Apple company.
But that is not the meat and bones of this news story. What is, is the fact that the stores are still continuing to thrive and expand all throughout china. There were reportedly five stores in the city of Kunming, and two of those stores were shut down shortly after the news caught wind of their existence, but these stores were not shut down because they were unauthorized to sell Apple products, it was a simple case of the owners not having business licenses. So let’s recap, we have five fake stores serving a small percentage of the billion-strong population of China, which isn’t too much for Apple to be concerned about. They were also selling official goods so the profits would still be coming in for Apple, but here’s the kicker. The five stores that I mentioned earlier were actually twenty two unauthorized dealers. that have been drum roll… discovered IN THE SAME CITY.
Apple China’s Shanghai office started complaining about the violations of their trademarks and the unfair competition to the local Kunming authorities. The main complaint was they were using Apples official Logo’s in their stores without Apple’s permission, something to the unwary buyer that would make them look like official outlets and thus guarantee a sale. An investigation was launched on August 2nd, 2011. And another twenty two stores were found to be selling either official or counterfeit Apple products under the guise of being an official store.
The fact that it took an investigation to find these TWENTY SEVEN stores, and Apple complaining to the police before anything was done is not a good sign. A bigger question is how many of these stores are there in china selling Apple products? And how many of them do we actually know about? I just hope China manages to shut down those store before they begin selling the next generation IPODS.