Despite an anti-piracy campaign, China has recently been found to be creating fake Apple stores, AP reports.
A 27-year-old anonymous American blogger stumbled across three of the counterfeit stores earlier this week and said the stores’ set-up and employees are extremely convincing. “It had the classic Apple store winding staircase and weird upstairs sitting area,” she wrote in a blog post. “The employees were even wearing those blue T-shirts with the chunky Apple name tags around their necks.”
Most customers who visit the stores can not determine that they are imitations. However, some of the staff members “can’t even operate computers properly or tell you all the functions of the mobile phone,” said Zhang, manager of an authorized reseller in Kunming, China who only chose to give his last name. He added that some of the products were also not imported through legal means.
And, there are other telltale signs that the stores are not legit. In addition to these stores not being listed as authorized resellers on Apple Inc.’s Web site, each sign has “Apple Store” written on it. But, as the blogger noted, the company only includes the symbol of the bitten apple.
Chinese police recently arrested more than 9,000 suspects and closed down more than 12,000 factories that produced counterfeit products as part of an anti-piracy campaign. The country’s Commerce Minister previously promised American executives the campaign would produce “lasting results.”
Apple still plans to open two more stores in China by the end of the year. Two authorized resellers already exist in Beijing and two others are located in Shanghai.