iPhoney – fake Apple stores turn up in China

21 Jul 2011

If it looks like an Apple store, smells like an Apple store, and staff act like its an Apple store … it may not be an Apple store. Not in one Chinese city, anyway. A blogger has stumbled across a fake Apple store that seems so authentic even its employees believe they’re working for Steve Jobs.

The consumer electronics giant has officially opened only four stores in two cities in China.

A blogger who writes under the name BirdAbroad posted photos yesterday of a store in Kunming, southwestern China, which, from a distance, looked like a genuine Apple shop. Staff sported blue T-shirts emblazoned with the Apple logo, similar to the gear worn by Apple store employees in Beijing and Shanghai. The shop itself featured posters for Apple products, a glass exterior, pale wood display tables and a winding staircase.

However, a closer inspection revealed some of the branding is off (Apple doesn’t include ‘Apple Stoer’ [sic] under its logo) and the staff badges didn’t carry individual names.

“The stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly,” BirdAbroad wrote of the shop, adding that the staff “all genuinely think they work for Apple”.

It wasn’t clear to BirdAbroad whether the products were fake, too, but they looked real enough. She also discovered two similar shops around the corner from the first one.

Apple does not have a self-standing retail outlet in Kunming, but it does have a reseller.

Photo above: A real Apple store in New York

Fake Apple