Visit to a fake Apple store in China


Jessica found three fake Apple stores in China and took photos. It's not clear whether the products were genuine or knockoffs.

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... 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.

Visit to a fake Apple store in China (Via Jack Shafer)


  1. I concur, not only is Kunming in China, but the post itself uses the word “China” countless times.

  2. And, while parts of China *were* Japanese Territory in WWII, Kunming never was — so not even historically was this store in Japan.

    Seriously, though, how can anyone think a fake Apple Store could work in Japan? They are every bit as concerned with copyright and trademarks as the West is.

  3. This is in Kunming, China. Not in Japan.

    Apple Inc. does have two stores in Beijing and two in Shanghai.

    If these shops are selling counterfeit goods with Apple logos on them and representing them as authentic Apple brand products, that is a big problem.

    However if they are selling authentic Apple brand products, but only decorated the store similar to Apple Store to attract more business, Apple Inc. probably will have a difficult time to challenge in court (especially in Chinese court).

  4. I’m astonished that anyone would mistake China for Japan and repeatedly so. A fake Apple store would last about a day in Japan before the TM police would nuke it from orbit.

  5. I’m astonished anyone from BB would repeatedly mistake China for Japan given Japan’s draconian enforcement of copyright. It’s like this BB post came from the other Earth, circling opposite the sun …

    1. I’ve a sneaky suspicion that this was a result of age as opposed to ignorance. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Which kind of tells you at the very least why I can commiserate. Either that or I just need to believe this.

  6. “I’ve corrected the post.”

    Partially, only…

    —-> Visit to a fake Apple store in Japan.

    …still needs a bit more correcting in the link at the bottom.

  7. They are simply apple resellers. there are apple resellers all over the world. the difference with this one is that the sign says “apple store”. otherwise there are LOADS of these all over. They are not fake apple stores. they are real stores, selling real apple products. they are just not franchises owned by apple.

    1. Good point.

      Every single Best Buy has a section dedicated to Apple products. Nobody ever asked if Apple Inc. has authorize them to use its white logo, etc.

      I think this particular story gained so much attention, or negative attention, is because this happened in China *gasp*.

      Majority of Apple brand products ARE made in China under subcontracts from Foxconn.

      If people were given the chance choose to purchase an tablet device, both made from same factory with identical parts, design, production line, quality control, software, and functionality. One has white Apple logo on it which costs US$500, and one does not but costs only $50. Which would you think people would most like to purchase?

      Of course the one with Apple logo, because it is so much better because of the logo.

    2. That was my first thought too; but around here, they have their own names and call themselves “Authorized Reseller” or “Premium Reseller.” I can’t imagine Apple is too happy about someone calling their store “Apple Store.” But who knows, China being China…

        1. Doesn’t really matter since Apple seems to only use the name “Apple Store” (no Chinese name) for the branding of its Chinese retail stores.

          That being said, the stores in the blog post linked here call themselves “Apple Store,” with either 苹果零售商 or 苹果商店 written underneath it. 苹果 means “apple” and is Apple’s Chinese name, 零售商 and 商店 mean “retailer” and “store” respectively.

      1. “I can’t imagine Apple is too happy about someone calling their store “Apple Store.” But who knows, China being China…”

        As long as Apple is dependent upon Chinese manufacturing facilities, I imagine they’ll be willing to look the other way.

  8. Shoddy workmanship is what instantly separates these fake Apple stores from the real things:

    And I don’t know that you can call these pretenders “apple resellers.” Do resellers wear official looking Apple outfits and sport Apple tags? And do they design their stores in imitation of Apple’s physical layouts? I would think Apple would have a good case for litigation – except for the fact it’s China – where the law is pretty much what the party says it is depending on the mood and moment.

    1. There is one of those here in Seattle too, they do say that they are an authorized Apple dealer on a little sign, but it is just another thing that is trying to get sales by riding the coat tales of an already established product. It’s not just china that does this, there are plenty of American companies that do this with everything from food to movies.

  9. They are not Apple authorized resellers, as they aren’t in the list of authorized resellers for that area.

    @Tian: Nice straw man! Knocked down quite well!

  10. I wish to god we could move manufacturing to other countries. I’d love to see more in say Mexico, if it was safer.

  11. “They are simply apple resellers. there are apple resellers all over the world. the difference with this one is that the sign says ‘apple store’.”

    By definition, any store that sells products manufactured by Apple is an “Apple reseller.” (I’ll assume that these products are bona fide Apple products, but there’s some question about that in the comment thread of the original post.)

    The problem is that they’re holding themselves out as being a genuine “Apple Store,” i.e., a store owned and operated by Apple. They have that on their sign, they copy the distinctive Apple store design, and their employees wear Apple badges. Their own employees even think (incorrectly) that they’re working for Apple. If I’m buying a computer, I’d want to know whether I’m buying a product directly from Apple versus some shifty third party.

    Note that Apple has “authorized reseller” or “premium reseller” designation for third parties who are licensed to sell Apple products. However, according to comments to the original post, those resellers must make it clear that those stores are run by third parties, not Apple. E.g., they can call themselves “the XYZ Store, an Apple authorized reseller,” but not “Apple Store.”

  12. What was wrong with what Tian wrote? He made an important point.

    It’s easy to understand why an Apple shareholder might care about hyper-strict protections by governments for Apple’s private logo. For example, protection of the logo could conceivably impact the shareholder’s income.

    It’s less easy to follow why the average person shouldn’t just focus on how well a machine is made by whatever criteria they prefer. Esp. in the absence of evidence that the logo’s use evidences some clear and intentional deception that is actually harming people.

  13. So, wait, are those fake Apple Store Geniuses or real Apple Store Geniuses? And how do they compare with fake real geniuses, and/or real fake geniuses?

  14. Well, for all the people that are not living in China and just rely on the computer illiterate journalist, here is how it is in China: There are literally thousands of computer shops, sizing from the size of a closet to a regular big shop, having apple store like furniture, logos of “Apple authorisez reseller”, … and they sell genuine products. Yet they have an advantage if you can pay the extra, is that you can buy Apple products from the grey market (eg other country Apple products, cheaper new but discontinued products, … ).
    I did not say there are not shops selling counterfeit products, but except if you plan to buy accessories or cheap stuff, it is really easy to spot a fake iphone or ipad. In fact you would see it once you start it or put your finger on it. Provided that you already used one, of course. Except accessories, Apple electronic devices are extremely difficult to counterfeit to get the same quality and look and feel, or they would be more expensive to produce

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