The Chinese government has launched an investigation into fake Apple stores that have popped up around the southwestern city of Kunming. As Mark reported, last week, an American expat blogger who goes by BirdAboard spotted what she called "the best ripoff store we had ever seen (and we see them everyday.)"
In short, the stores copied everything from the winding staircase to the blue T-shirts used by Apple Store employees in authentic shops. But as that blog post gained international attention, the Chinese authorities got involved.
The AP reports that Chinese authorities found five fake Apple stores in Kunming and shut down two of them. The AP adds:
Officials couldn't do anything about the other three stores — which prominently displayed Apple signs and logos — because they did not find any fake Apple products for sale, according to a report by a local newspaper posted on the Kunming city government's website.
After the blog appeared on Wednesday, the Kunming Trade and Industry Bureau inspected more than 300 electronics stores in Kunming...
The store featured in BirdAboard's blog post is still open. The Wall Street Journal talked to store's manager, who gave his name as Li and said his store wasn't in violation of the law.
Li said his store isn't an authorized reseller of Apple, but he'd like to be one. "We have a business license and we are running or business by the law," he told the Journal. "All of our products are authentic Apple products."
Apple has stayed quiet on the issue. But China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported, today, that Apple was planning its 5th store in the country. They reported that Apple was planning a third store in Shanghai. Apple already has two stores in Beijing.