Fake Apple Stores popping up in China


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Products get knocked off all the time -- designer bags, Oscar-night dresses, watches. But entire stores? That’s something new. Which is why the Internet is going crazy over a blogger’s report that three fake Apple stores have popped up in her neighborhood in Kunming, China.

In a post dated Wednesday on the blog BirdAbroad, the citizen reporter (an employee of an international public health organization) said she was initially duped by the quality of the fake Apple store. It had the iconic clean wood interior, the Apple branded posters on the walls, the employees with those tell-tale blue polo shirts and chunky name tags hanging around their necks. The store appeared to sell real Apple products.


Her husband bet it was a fake, she bet it wasn’t. When they got home they looked online and found that Apple doesn’t have any stores in Kunming. A few days later she walked down the street and bumped into two more Apple store knock-offs!

In retrospect, she writes, some things felt off in the store. The stairs were poorly constructed and the name tags didn’t have actual names on them, just the word ‘staff.’ She also notes the walls weren’t painted correctly, and the sign in front was wrong:

‘Apple never writes ‘Apple Store’ on it’s signs – it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit,’ she wrote.

BirdAbroad, who does not use her real name on her blog and asked that we not use it either, had to do some fancy maneuvering to be allowed to take photos in the store.

‘I … may or may not have told them that we were two American Apple employees visiting China and checking out the local stores. Either way, they got friendlier and allowed me to snap some pictures,’ she wrote.

She also said the employees definitely believed they were working for the real Apple company.


Citizen journalism lives!


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--Deborah Netburn

PS: If you have some time on your hands -- like more than five minutes -- I suggest reading this 2007 story on the rise of the real Apple Store by feature writing great Hank Stuever.